Free Debate is Impossible in the age of Social Media Bubbles and Echo Chambers

While at work a few weeks back, Myself and a work colleague began to debate a hot topic, the topic was the alleged rise in the number of rape cases in Sweden because of migrants. I challenged my colleague about where he got his statistics from and his answer was the internet.

With each answer of the word the internet, my colleague replied more aggressively and it got to a point where my colleague was shouting and treating me all because I wanted to discuss a topic and where the information came from. Yet it made me think about our activity in the online world.

Since the creation of social media, (I.E. Facebook and Twitter) we have been able to input as much data about the things we like and the thoughts we wish to here. It’s like our online social media page is our own little bubble, A proverbial echo chamber for our very own self.

It’s scary the level of detail to which these echo chambers go to, just check out how much Facebook wants to know about you, from the start they want to know: Your educational background, your relationships and family connections, your religious views and most importantly your political believes.

Just think for a second, I could, in theory, have my own little social media bubble on Facebook designed to be: An Eton graduate, librel Democratic, Pro EU Anti Gun and Christian person.

Let’s continue with the role play and imagine that all the people I have as “Friends” on the site share the same opinions and share content Until one person decides to share an arugiument on leaving the EU. What do we do? We simply unfriend them and bury our head back into the bubble.

This works both ways and isn’t just confined to the more left-leaning side of politics, the right-leaning side of politics is equally as dangerous, We could reverse the opinions of the role play and have a Pro EU person share an argument for staying in the EU and what would we do? we’d unfriend them and bury our heads in the sand of our echo chamber.

Using that logic, the concept of a free debate is near impossible, We’ve become two tribes that won’t debate each other, instead if we disagree, we shout down our opponent and call them silly little names like a Snowflake or a Deplorable. Look at the 2016 EU referendum and the 2016 US Election, they both were incredibly toxic because we made them toxic with our echo chambers.

So how can we debate like mature people when we cannot see beyond our bubble? The Answer is to include each other’s sides in the chamber. follow both liberal media outlets and conservative outlets. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and most importantly respect that other people can be opinionated.