Social media can have a negative impact on us due to its underlying business model. Jaron Lanier explains that social media platforms have become optimized for addiction, manipulation, and trickery because they rely on advertising revenue. This optimization makes it easy for bad actors to create fake personas, spread fake news, and distract or shut down users. However, it's important to note that social media itself is not inherently bad. Lanier gives the example of GitHub, a platform for programmers, which fosters direct collaboration and positive interactions without the negative aspects of mainstream social media.
Additionally, Steven Pinker discusses the negative bias in news coverage. The media tends to focus on bad news because negative emotions and sudden events capture our attention. This can create a skewed perception of the world, making it seem worse than it actually is. Pinker emphasizes the importance of being aware of both problems and progress, as conventional journalism often presents an overly negative view of the world.
Tristan Harris adds another dimension to the discussion by