Social Media

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, rage that had accumulated over centuries of racial violence spilled into the nation's streets.

From Atlanta, Macon and Savannah to London, Amsterdam and Paris, protesters are flooding streets that, only weeks ago, stood nearly empty due to fears of COVID-19. The crowds are unprecedented in their size, diversity and condemnation of police brutality and systemic racial injustice. Despite early property damage, largely peaceful protests have gained momentum over the course of the last week. 

 


Collage by Emilia Brock

Social distancing has become the new normal. With borders closing, shelter-in-place orders in California, lockdowns in Europe, and the Trump administration's guidelines to limit gatherings, millions of Americans are shuttering indoors — and spending a lot of time in front of a screen.

And the memes have flourished.


Kin Cheung / AP Photo

The spread of a deadly new coronavirus is being closely followed by global health officials and the public, with over 31,000 confirmed cases worldwide, over 600 deaths, and 12 cases in the United States so far. 

But along with headlines of quarantines, canceled flights and travel bans comes another threat: misinformation going viral. 

 


Jake Troyer

The start of a new decade is often viewed as a beginning of a new chapter. Before that page turns, On Second Thought looked at some of the benchmark changes over the past decade - both within Georgia, and across the world. 

Nicole Smith, features editor at the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Thomas Wheatley, articles editor at Atlanta Magazine, joined On Second Thought to talk about some of the biggest developments in Georgia over the past 10 years, from the burgeoning film industry in Atlanta to politics throughout the state.


David Tulis / AP Photo

Chick-fil-A announced it will be closing its first U.K. store just eight days after opening. Its landlord in Reading, England announced it will not renew the Atlanta-based company’s lease after pressure from local LGBTQ groups protesting the chain’s record on same-sex marriage rights.

Chick-fil-A is not alone. Nike, Amazon, and SoulCycle are just a handful of other corporations that have become targets of boycotts that spread quickly on social media.


Today we explored the book "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics" with the hosts of "A Seat at the Table," listened to new Georgia music with Paste Magazine's Josh Jackson and discussed the problems with social media echo chambers with Emory University's David Schweidel.

Monica Pearson, Denene Millner and Christine White talked about the four authors of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics" who have lived and worked behind the scenes in American politics for more than three decades.

Foter

Social media platforms like Gab market themselves as free speech alternatives to sites like Twitter and Facebook, and they can create a safe haven for extremist views. After the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, police discovered the shooter had frequently posted anti-semitic messages and memes on Gab.

We spoke with David Schweidel, professor of marketing at Emory University, about the problem with social media echo chambers.


There appears to be no quick patch for the malware afflicting America's political life.

Over the course of three congressional hearings Tuesday and Wednesday, lawmakers fulminated, Big Tech witnesses were chastened but no decisive action appears to be in store to stop a foreign power from harnessing digital platforms to try to shape the information environment inside the United States.

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., wasted no time on Wednesday connecting the abstract story that is Russian election interference to strife in the real world.

With lawyers from Facebook, Twitter and Google sitting before him, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman described a divisive scene in Houston last year — engineered entirely by Russian influence-mongers.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Russian interference efforts in the 2016 presidential election were broader than anyone first knew, as representatives for Facebook, Twitter and Google told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

In July 2016, the aftermath of a police shooting of an African-American man was broadcast live on Facebook. Instantly, Americans of all stripes used the platform to step up the race wars and attack each other.

Twitter may be the public square of our times, but some citizens say their elected officials don't want to hear from them. It has become increasingly common for politicians at all levels of government to block followers, whether for uncivil behavior or merely for expressing a different point of view.

Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to weed out Russian operatives and extremist propaganda from Facebook.

But savvy marketers — people who've used Facebook's advertising platform since its inception — say that social media giant will find it hard to banish nefarious actors because its technology is designed to be wide open and simple to use.