Barack Obama warns of 'divisive' social media in thinly-veiled dig at Donald Trump

Barack Obama congratulates President Donald Trump after he took the oath of office on January 20.
Barack Obama congratulates President Donald Trump after he took the oath of office on January 20.

Former US president Barack Obama has warned against using social media in a divisive fashion during an interview with Prince Harry.

The former US commander-in-chief did not mention his White House successor by name, but the comments have been viewed as a thinly veiled rebuke aimed at Donald Trump’s constant use of Twitter.

As he appeared on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, Mr Obama claimed that there was a danger of people cementing their biases as a direct result of social media use.

‘The question, I think, really 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 our society, but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground?’, Mr Obama said.

He added: ‘I’m not sure government can legislate that, but what I do believe is that all of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet.


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‘One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.’

President Trump has drawn sustained widespread criticism for the way he uses Twitter to attack opponents, and condemn what he brands ‘fake news’.

In November, he prompted swift condemnation after retweeting anti-Muslim propaganda from far-right group Britain First – before he subsequently hit back at Theresa May’s criticism of his actions.