This article was originally published in Live Mint. Views are Personal.
In a recent interview with The Atlantic magazine, Barack Obama described social media as “the single biggest threat to our democracy”, arguing that these platforms had destroyed the common narrative necessary for democracy to function. He held tech companies partly responsible, contending that, “The degree to which these companies are insisting that they are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic, I do not think is tenable.” In the ongoing debate on whether social media companies are platforms or publications, the former US president holds that these companies “are making editorial choices, whether they’ve buried them in algorithms or not” and they can’t cite free speech “to provide a platform for any view that is out there”. In his opinion, tackling this challenge to democracy would require both government regulation and changes in the way these companies operate.