Former President Barack Obama is an extremely skilled orator, and this fact has been routinely on display in the past year as he’s made a few public statements that covertly roast his successor without actually mentioning him by name. He offered another example of criticism-via-shade in an interview with the recently engaged Prince Harry on BBC Radio where President Obama talked about the dangers of using social media too much.
After Prince Harry asked President Obama about social media’s potential as a legitimate platform for change, Obama said users really need to exercise caution in order to avoid an echo chamber or being divisive:
“One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.
“The question I think really has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a balkanization of our society, but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground … All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet.”
Obama went on to say that while social media has allowed for a wider range of voices to be heard, it has the potential to further lead to the splintering of society. He also commented upon the unprecedented amount of content, which has led to a greater amount of media sources rather than the three television stations that used to exist, and he believes that as a result, people can no longer “generally agree on a baseline of reality” after watching the same reports.
The interview, part of a series of programming being curated by Prince Harry for the BBC, was recorded during the Invictus Games held in Toronto last September.