Obama Talks Leaving the White House, Social Media
Former U.S. President Barack Obama warned world leaders of the dangers of the internet in a newly broadcast interview with Britain’s Prince Harry.
“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,” Obama told Harry, who acted as a guest editor of the BBC Radio 4 news program, in the interview that aired Wednesday. The interview, which was recorded in Canada in September, was Obama’s first since leaving the White House in January.
Neither man mentioned President Donald Trump by name, but Obama’s successor didn’t seem far from the conversation. Trump, of course, is known for his prodigious tweeting habits.
Obama emphasized his support for the First Amendment, but said the challenge is using and developing technology in a way that encompasses a range of voices and diverse views, but “doesn’t lead to a Balkanization of our society, but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground.”
Leaders must rise to that challenge and “recreate a common space on the internet,” he said.
The pair also discussed Obama’s transitioning of power to the Trump administration, and while Obama said he had “concerns about how the country moved forward,” he said he generally felt a sense of serenity at the end of his final term.
Obama said he still cares about making sure the U.S. offers children a decent education and hardworking people a living wage. He also mentioned the importance of conserving natural resources – an issue that has become particularly divisive in recent weeks.
“A lot of the things that still motivate me and move me continue to this day,” he said.
But on some fronts, the audience was left wondering. For his part, Harry would not say whether Obama will get an invite to his highly-anticipated May wedding to American actress Meghan Markle.