What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media for debate?
The advantages and disadvantages of debating on social media are closely related. The main advantage is that social media is a very inclusive, open platform on which people can express their opinions. This makes for a more frank, honest debate among people who would otherwise never get the chance to debate with each other.
However, the downside to such openness is a lack of quality control. Not all debates are the same; some are more illuminating than others. All too often social media seems to encourage a form of discourse that is at times angry, offensive, and highly abusive. As people who debate on social media can hide behind a cloak of anonymity, this often encourages the spread of extreme opinions. Racism, misogyny, and support for various terrorist groups thrive on social media due to the anonymity that the various platforms have the capacity to provide. In turn, this means that social media has become a breeding ground for trolls, creating a profoundly hostile environment for far too many people.
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