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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K280: 我們都該對彼此了解少一點 We Should All Know Less About Each Other

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K280: We Should All Know Less About Each Other

In 2017, after the shock of Brexit and then Donald Trump’s election, Christopher Bail, a professor of sociology and public policy at Duke University, set out to study what would happen if you forced people out of their social media echo chambers.

2017年,經歷過英國脫離歐盟與川普當選美國總統的震撼之後,美國杜克大學社會學與公共政策教授貝爾開始研究,逼迫人們脫離社群媒體同溫層會發生什麼事。

Bail is the director of The Polarization Lab, a team of social scientists, computer scientists and statisticians who study how technology amplifies political divisions. He and his colleagues recruited 1,220 Twitter users who identified as either Democrats or Republicans, offering to pay them $11 to follow a particular Twitter account for a month. Although the participants didn’t know it, the Democrats were assigned to follow a bot account that retweeted messages from prominent Republican politicians and thinkers. The Republicans, in turn, followed a bot account that retweeted Democrats.

貝爾是「兩極化實驗室」主任,這個實驗室是社會科學家、電腦科學家和統計學家組成的團隊,研究科技如何擴大政治分歧。他和同事招募1220名自認是民主黨人或共和黨人的推特網友,要求每人關注一個特定推特帳號一個月,並各發11美元酬勞。受試者並不知道規則,但實際上,民主黨人會被指派關注一個轉發知名共和黨政治人物和意見領袖推文的機器人帳號,共和黨人則關注轉發民主黨意見領袖推文的機器人帳號。

At the time, a lot of concern about the internet’s role in political polarization revolved around what digital activist Eli Pariser once called filter bubbles, a term for the way an increasingly personalized internet traps people in self-reinforcing information silos.

當時關於網路激化政治對立的作用,關注焦點集中在數位社會活動家帕里瑟曾說的「過濾泡泡」,這個詞描述日益個人化的網路內容會把人困在不斷自我增強的資訊孤島。

“The echo chamber idea was reaching its kind of apex in terms of its public influence,” Bail told me. “It nicely explained how Trump had won, how Brexit had happened.” Bail’s team wanted to see if getting people to engage with ideas they wouldn’t otherwise encounter might moderate their views.

貝爾告訴我:「同溫層這個概念對公眾的影響力已達頂峰,能很好地解釋為何川普當選,為何英國脫歐。」貝爾團隊想探究,讓人們接觸平常不會接觸的觀念,能否使他們的觀念變得溫和。

The opposite happened. “Nobody became more moderate,” Bail said. “Republicans in particular became much more conservative when they followed the Democratic bot, and Democrats became a little bit more liberal.”

結果適得其反。貝爾說:「沒有人變溫和,尤其是共和黨人,關注民主黨機器人帳號後變得保守許多,民主黨人則變得有點更偏向自由派。」

Social media platforms have long justified themselves with the idea that connecting people would make the world more open and humane. In offline life, after all, meeting lots of different kinds of people tends to broaden the mind, turning caricatures into complicated individuals. It’s understandable that many once believed the same would be true on the internet.

社群媒體平台一直為自己辯護,他們的說法是連結人們能讓世界變得更開放仁慈。畢竟在離線世界,與形形色色的人相遇通常會讓心胸更開闊,會使原本心目中的荒謬人物變成複雜的個體。可以理解,許多人一度以為在線上也一樣。

But it turns out there’s nothing intrinsically good about connection, especially online.

但結果是,連結本質上沒什麼好的,尤其在線上。

On the internet, exposure to people unlike us often makes us hate them, and that hatred increasingly structures our politics.

在網上,接觸不像我們的人往往會使我們恨他們,而這種恨意日益成為我們政治的結構。

The social corrosion caused by Facebook and other platforms isn’t a side effect of bad management and design decisions. It’s baked into social media itself.

臉書等平台引發的社會團結被侵蝕現象,並非管理不當和設計決策失誤引起的出乎意料後果,而是與社群媒體本身密不可分。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5919797

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