In recent months, political extremism has become more and more apparent in America. Due in part to the rise of internet-accessibility and screentime, due to the pandemic. I read Luke Munn’s research article describing an individual’s path to extremism and the psychological occurrences that happen alongside.
Generally, indoctrination to the alt-right occurs gradually; incremental nudges of both personal experience and consumption of accounts from the media push individuals to extremism. However, with the help of social media platforms that prioritize content consumption and algorithmic content-recommendations, the “gradual nudges” have evolved to larger and more aggressive pushes.
In Munn’s article, he describes in a more technical sense the way social media platforms, such as Youtube, can create toxic “media bubbles” that draw individuals closer to extremism. “In a report for the Data & Society Research Institute, Rebecca Lewis (2018) identifies exactly this web of YouTube connections, labelling it as the “Alternative Influence Network.” Though disparate in their beliefs and styles, this assortment of Internet celebrities, scholars, comedians and pundits share a collective disdain for progressive politics.”