How The Twitter Monster Was Created

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Here is the latest chapter in the ongoing story of how social media created a monster that is destroying our culture from within.

Buzzfeed reports on the profound remorse of the tech developer who built the retweet button for Twitter. He watched in horror as fringe hate groups like the female-hating Gamergate crowd used retweets to spread lies and harass innocent targets.

Because it streamlined the retweet process and promoted what they call impulse sharing, Twitter retweets became a major source of disinformation and slander during the 2016 campaign.

There is scientific evidence that when people are forced to stop and think about the content they’re spreading, they are more likely to use better judgement about spreading vile nonsense. 

But when sharing is made so easy, they don’t think, they just retweet.

So why do Twitter and Facebook continue to make mindless garbage so easy to share?

Advertisers love virality, and proposals to curb the spread of toxic online waste by limiting the number of retweets or suspending the privileges of people who specialize in sharing trash have gone nowhere.

And the man who let the poison out of the bottle? He used to think “we put power in the hands of people.” 

Now, he says: “Oh no, we put power into the hands of people.”

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday mornings at :55 minutes past the hour. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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