Speaking for an hour at MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, former president Barack Obama had a few interesting things to say about social media companies. He didn’t just talk about sports analytics but also talked at length about the role of social media companies in the political world.
“I do think the large platforms — Google and Facebook being the most obvious, Twitter and others as well, are part of that ecosystem—have to have a conversation about their business model that recognizes they are a public good as well as a commercial enterprise,” said Obama. “They’re not just an invisible platform, they’re shaping our culture in powerful ways.”
“Essentially we now have entirely different realities that are being created with not just different opinions, but now different facts,” he said. Obama made references to how Fox News and The New York Times don’t share and describe the same thing.
“In some cases, they don’t even talk about the same thing. And so it is very difficult to figure out how democracy works over the long term in those circumstances.”
If you’re interested in listening to the audio of Obama’s speech, it’s been posted online by the Libertarian Magazine Reason.