US must deal with ‘demand for crazy on the internet’: Obama

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Former President Barack Obama said at an event Wednesday that the U.S. needs to address the allure of dangerous misinformation on the internet through a mix of regulation and industry standards.  

When discussing how social media companies should handle misinformation and disinformation on the internet at an event hosted by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and The Atlantic.

“I do think that there is a demand for crazy on the internet that we have to grapple with,” Obama said. 

Obama pointed to examples of how misinformation has plagued the U.S., with some still falsely believing that President Biden did not win the 2020 election. 

The former president said that once the smartphone came into play starting in 2010, there was “an erosion of accountability norms and standards in political life.”

Once the creation of social media occurred, the type of rhetoric was able to “spread and accelerate,” he said.

Obama said we need “a combination of regulatory measures and industry norms” to push social media companies to deal with misinformation.

Social media companies have been pushed to do more about false information on their platforms, most recently to restrict Russian disinformation about the Ukraine war. 

President Biden has blamed social media for spreading disinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, as well as contributing to what the White House calls a youth mental health crisis.

Tags 2020 election Barack Obama Biden disinformation Joe Biden misinformation Obama

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