Former US President Barack Obama has urged people in leadership positions not to use social media in a way that fosters division.
Obama warns over divisive social media use in Prince Harry interview
In a BBC interview conducted by Britain’s Prince Harry, Obama warned that the internet risked reinforcing people’s prejudices and leading to a fractured society.
« All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet, » Obama said. « One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases, » he said.
Obama did not mention US President Donald Trump by name during the interview, which he said was his first since leaving office.
However, Trump’s campaign and presidency have been characterized by his outspoken use of Twitter.
Obama, who was interviewed for an edition of the BBC Radio 4 Today program guest edited by Prince Harry, said it was a challenge to make the most of the opportunities provided by social media.
« The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanization of society and allows ways of finding common ground, » he said.
Asked how he felt on the day he left office in January this year, Obama described mixed feelings.
« The sense that there was a completion, and that we had done the work in a way that preserved our integrity and left us whole and that we hadn’t fundamentally changed, I think was a satisfying feeling, » he said.
« That was mixed with all the work that was still undone and concerns about how the country moves forward. But overall there was a serenity there, more than I would have expected. »(cnn)