Social Media: Menace or Blessing? Robby Soave

Not long ago, most of us embraced social media as a life-changing opportunity to connect with friends and family all across the world. Today, public opinion, including members of Congress from both parties, has turned far more negative. Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and other tech giants are accused of corrupting our democracy, spreading disinformation, and fanning the flames of hatred.

Our guest is Robby Soave, a libertarian author and journalist who is a senior editor for Reason and the author of two books: "Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump" and his latest, "Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn't Fear Facebook and the Future."

Robby is highly skeptical of most efforts to reform or break up technology firms. In a lively conversation we explore some of the biggest issues animating both right and left: bias, censorship, disinformation, privacy, screen addiction, crime, and more.

"There are certain legitimate problems with big tech and social media," Robby tells us. "The negatives have been very well-covered and over-hyped by everyone from the mainstream media to the right-wing media... The considerable positives of social media are almost entirely overlooked."

In this episode we also hear about the respectful, impassioned debate between Robby and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, co-author of "The Coddling of the American Mind", who produced evidence linking the spike in adolescent mental illness and anxiety to the rise of Facebook and Instagram.  

Recommendation: Richard is watching the TV series, "Engineering That Built the World" on the History Channel. This fascinating documentary features expert insights by our co-host, Jim Meigs, on the building of the Panama Canal, the formation of the Interstate Highway system and the struggle to construct the Transcontinental Railroad.

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