Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 27 Dec 2017
London, Dec 27 (JEN): Former US President Barack Obama has cautioned against the misuse of social media to spread false news.
In an interview to Prince Harry for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Obama said, "All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet."
Prince Harry, who recently got engaged to Hollywood actress Meghan Markle, is one of the guest editors in the programme for its special Christmas episodes.
"One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases," the former US President said.
"The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn't lead to a Balkanisation of society and allows ways of finding common ground," he added.
Obama also urged social media users to rest the technology for some time and meet people face-to-face.
"Social media is a really powerful tool for people of common interests to convene and get to know each other and connect," he said. "But then it's important for them to get offline, meet in a pub, meet at a place of worship, meet in a neighbourhood and get to know each other."
"Because the truth is that on the internet, everything is simplified and when you meet people face-to-face it turns out they're complicated," he said.
Quizzed about the challenges of being a President, he said that it's hard and that the loved ones are made vulnerable in a way that wasn't possible 20 or 30 years ago.
"It's hard, being in the public eye is unpleasant in a lot of ways. It is challenging in a lot of ways, he said. "Your loved ones are made vulnerable in ways that might not have been true 20 years ago or 30 years ago."
He also likened his job as a President as that of a relay runner.
"If you ran hard, you did your best and you were able to pass that baton successfully and the world was a little better then you had done your job," Obama said.
Obama also hailed the modern world as more tolerant and less violent, when asked about the future.
He said, "If you had to choose a moment in human history in which you'd want to be born you'd choose today because the fact is that the world is healthier, wealthier, better educated and more tolerant, more sophisticated and less violent."
Talking about his experience, Prince Harry said, "I haven't done that many interviews but it was quite fun, especially interviewing President Obama despite the fact he wanted to interview me. It's been a big learning curve but also these are incredibly important topics we all need to think about and need to be discussed."