One of the biggest downsides to numerous media options (first with cable TV, then Internet pages and now social media) is the ability to filter out information that challenges one's world view.
With more people getting their news from Facebook links, we've given up so much of what we consume from a news and information standpoint to the whims of Facebook algorithms. This after we've already limited our sources by choosing who we follow and don't follow.
The business end of this is easy to get. By giving you what you want, Facebook gets more engagement from you. More engagement means they get more money from you.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this concept. That's what businesses do each and every day. But with the news and information business, it comes with a downside. Often, what people want is information that fits in with their worldview. In our already-polarized political landscape, that means various sides are getting more information that reinforces their side, not necessarily a balanced picture of the truth or anything to challenge that world view. Information that challenges either isn't presented, or is easy to ignore.
That's a problem we have to figure out how to solve. We have to find a better way of getting balanced and truthful information to people. We have to find a way to get more people on one side of a debate hearing out the other. If you're in favor of democracy, peace, love and understanding and all that jazz, it's vital.
How do we do it isn't clear. Is it done through a new service? Is it done by encouraging people to be more open to new sources of information and being less partisan? I don't know.
What I do know is that the desire for partisan and sensationalist news isn't anything new but a part of human nature. And I know the advent of social media is making getting balanced information to people even harder.
I'm not sure exactly how we get there, but this is a challenge we need to learn how to solve.