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Social Media And The Death Of Context

Last year just before and during the US presidential election, Twitter introduced a new feature that prevented users from directly retweeting tweets. A nuisance as the feature was to most people, myself included, it was an important step in reducing the spread of misinformation on the social site especially during a politically sensitive time like the US presidential election. Twitter's explanation of the feature was that it was designed to slow down retweeting and consequent amplification of potential misinformation, which is very common on the site. Twitter's 280 character architecture coupled with its algorithms that encourage confirmation bias  makes it the perfect breeding ground for loss of context in tweets posted and shared by users. Tweets and headlines are taken at face value with zero regard for their justification or evidence of what they are purporting. Every day, it is common to come across tweets with tens of thousands of retweets sharing "fake news"

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