Twitter Co-Founder: Trump Presidency Proves That Social Media Makes Us Stupid

The co-founder of Twitter has spoken about Donald Trump’s relationship with the platform he helped to create and says that Trump is proof that social media sites like Twitter are making us dumber as a society.

It is nearly impossible to think about Donald Trump and not think about Twitter. The 45th President of the United States and the bite-size-information social media platform have enjoyed a love affair as torrid as it has been enlightening and entertaining. Just today the President tweeted a series of increasingly silly things that confused his opponents, delighted his supporters and made some people very angry. Following a Tweet of a video clip showing himself hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball, President Trump followed it up with a joke calling Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” and making fun of gas lines in North Korea—and this was all before 9AM. It is safe to say that Twitter may have the most powerful (unofficial) spokesman on the planet. This should be a good thing, but Twitter founder Evan Williams says that President Trump’s use of his platform is emblematic of a “dumbing down” of society.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 Evan Williams was asked about his feelings on President Trump’s use of Twitter. His response was that Donald Trump is a symptom of a larger problem with social media, in that it creates an environment that “undermines our sense of truth” and contributes to the “dumbing down” of the entire world.

Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder, says social media and clickbait journalism is making us dumber [Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Mr. Williams explained that it is not Donald Trump using Twitter that is the problem. The problem, according to Williams, is “the quality of the information we consume that is reinforcing dangerous beliefs and isolating people and limiting people’s open-mindedness and respect for truth.”

Williams stated that it wasn’t solely Twitter to blame, and that Twitter may not even be the most culpable.

“There is a media ecosystem that is supported and thrives on attention, period. And that is what’s making us dumber and not smarter, and Donald Trump is a symptom of that.”

Mr. Williams continued on to explain that that since he left Twitter to found Medium, a longform essay sharing site, he has become less convinced of the internet’s ability to make us smarter, pointing to the unfiltered access to information that might be true, false, or somewhere in between. He says that “the fake news thing is one small part of it; another even bigger part of it is the quality and depth of the information.” What matters just as much as if something is true, he says, is whether it is meaningful and not just noise.

Donald trump says Twitter got him elected. [Image by Bethany Clark/Getty Images]

The Twitter founder has previously apologized for Twitter’s role in getting President Trump elected.

[Featured Image by Wil McNamee/AP Images]

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