What are the consequences of the internet’s growing role as a force for radicalization? That’s a question that our correspondents Amanda Taub and Max Fisher have spent the last few years trying to answer. Wherever they looked, the rate and consequences of online radicalization seemed far beyond what they’d anticipated, and were growing fast. So, in January, they decided to ask the question in a different way: Could the consequences of online radicalization go beyond a few extremists and, in ways that might be less obvious but perhaps just as consequential, radicalize large swaths of an entire society? So rather than look at social media’s role in inspiring one shooter, provoking one riot or turning one community against itself, they looked for a country where they might try to understand, as holistically as they could, social media’s impact on every facet of life. They picked Brazil.
As part of their reporting, they visited @bkcharvard and found that YouTube’s algorithms may have played a decisive role in President Jair Bolsonaro’s rise in Brazil. See more on this week’s episode of @theweekly. If you’re not caught up yet, there are now 9 episodes ready for you to binge-watch on @hulu or @fxnetworks.