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How social media's algorithms worsen political polarization

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Election 2022 Misinformation Tech
Michael Dwyer
Associated Press
The Facebook logo is seen on a mobile phone, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Twitter say they're taking steps to prevent the spread of misinformation about voting and elections ahead of next month's midterm elections. Yet a look at some of the most popular platforms shows baseless claims about election fraud continue to flourish.

In Max Fisher's new book "The Chaos Machine," he examines how social media giants like Facebook and Twitter contributed to political divisions in modern America.

Author Max Fisher says the core objective of social media companies today is to maximize user's time on sites so that they can sell as many ads as possible. He believes this comes at a clear cost.

"This is something that has proven so consistently harmful and so transformative in so many ways that there is a growing sense that that fundamentally has to be engineered out if we're ever going to have a healthier social fabric again," Fisher says.

Fisher joined KCUR's Up To Date to discuss his new book, "The Chaos Machine," and explain the ways in which social media prioritized profit and caused polarization.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
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