Twitter co-founder says social media makes everyone dumber, cites Trump as example

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No fan of President Trump, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams is now saying that his election shows how social media can “dumb the entire world down.”

His comments come after he apologized back in May for Twitter’s role in getting Trump elected.

Asked about President Trump’s use of Twitter during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program, according to The Guardian, Williams said, “The much bigger issue is not Donald Trump using Twitter that got him elected, even if he says so. It is the quality of the information we consume that is reinforcing dangerous beliefs and isolating people and limiting people’s open-mindedness and respect for truth.”

Williams explained that there is a media ecosystem that is “supported and thrives on attention,” noting, “and that is what’s making us dumber and not smarter, and Donald Trump is a symptom of that.”

He blames “ad-driven media that churns stuff out on a minute-by-minute basis,” noting that the only thing they measure is how many clicks each post receives.

“Therefore, quoting Trump’s tweets, or quoting the latest stupidest thing that any political candidate or anyone else says, is an effective way to exploit people’s basest instincts. And that is dumbing the entire world down,” said Williams, pointing out that access to information doesn’t necessarily make people smarter.

President Trump uses Twitter as a way to bypass the media and get his message out directly to the public. Critics say his tweets are a distraction; tweets attacking his rivals have frequently sparked controversy.

Twitter certainly played an integral part in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and his tweets took on even more importance after he was elected to office. At the same time, Trump’s reliance on the social media platform has created a comfortable relationship with the struggling company that has never turned a profit.

Twitter’s monthly average user base in the April-June quarter grew 5 percent from the previous year to 328 million, but its stock prices have fallen. And in July, the San Francisco-based company reported a second-quarter loss of $116 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $107 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

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