From a timely Jaron Lanier reality check
"It’s important to understand the nature of the problem. The effects of social media manipulation are slight at any given time. But slight changes applied consistently and carefully can have big effects. An initially minute compound interest can turn into a big reward for a patient investor. In the same way, slight but predictable changes to the behavior of a population can be gained through adaptive algorithmic adjustments to social media experiences.Global addiction to social media is ruining democracy -- Boston Globe
The problem is weirdly devilish. It attacks the very mechanisms that ought to protect us. The damage is reminiscent of the way AIDS undoes the immune systems that would normally battle disease. Once elections are made suspect, for instance, then politicians have little choice but to cling to the results that brought them to office. If a politician says, “I might not have been legitimately elected,” then that politician is undone, and chaos ensues. There is no way out."