Social media heavily influences the country’s political divide



Robert Milman

Social media is now one of the main grounds for the harmful political divide in the United States. With many citizens saying that they receive their political knowledge from social media, Republicans and Democrats have lost the ability to communicate and find common ground.

While social media has given the average user power to receive news faster than ever, it has failed in the aspect of precision.

Society has become plagued by the spread of misinformation. These fabrications have also led to a decrease in communications between people with opposing views.

“The roughly two-thirds of American adults who use social media sites express a relatively wide range of opinions on the political interactions they witness and take part in on these platforms,” according to The Pew Research Center.

“Many feel overloaded by political content and view their social media interactions with those they disagree with as a source of frustration and annoyance.”

Social media services such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter give users a platform to share their thoughts, especially political ones, just with the click of a button. With many not checking facts and basing their knowledge exclusively on the thoughts of others, users are left with a distorted reality.

A problem with receiving news from social media platforms is that they are rarely bipartisan. Every new post or tweet made is an underlying political belief that will be spread.

Diversity and disagreements are necessary for a healthy democracy to exist, but not to the level that they have reached in today’s society. People are refraining from face-to-face political conversations about things that they may disagree on.

“Republicans estimate that 32 %of Democrats are LGBT when in reality it is 6 %; Democrats estimate that 38 % of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year when in reality it is 2 %’” according to the Kellogg Insight.

The absence of bipartisanship derives from action within the federal government. There is a lack of communication and civility between the legislative and executive branches.

If changes should be made, it must start with the elected leaders.

People tend to discuss their political views only with those who align with their ideology, rather than having a respectful discussion with individuals they may disagree with. The longer that this goes on, the more polarized the parties will become.

Instead of feeding off others’ perceptions of political beliefs through social media, people should begin to read headlines and formulate their own opinions based on facts that overrule misinformation.