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Monday, April 19, 2021

Find Out Which Social Media Sites Are Telling the Real Story

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Social network founder and mogul Mark Zuckerberg left the executive office this month to head back to school. “There’s nothing like a semester in a classroom to really help me prioritize my life,” he said, before explaining that he “needs to grow up a bit.”

He’s not the only influential tech executive who will need to grow up. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, has shown signs of doing so with regard to Twitter. There’s also the possibility that the president may, too, soon be out of his box, trying to catch up with the leaders of the Internet.

In a segment of Totally Under Control, which examines the impact of the ongoing pandemic of disinformation in today’s social media, a panel of influencers and online journalists tackle what is supposed to be an easy conundrum: who is in charge of what is trending on social media, and what exactly is the common thread connecting all the posts going out in all these different social networks?

It’s an answer that might not always fit neatly into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms. And it’s one that promises some comforting clarity for those unnerved by the fact that some people claim to have more followers than Donald Trump.

The entire documentary is part of the new wave of video projects helmed by Alex Gibney, the master of exposing Trump Derangement Syndrome. (His reports are available on YouTube.)

He and his longtime collaborators Zachary Prediger and Jeff Greller stumbled across the digital tool that allows them to scan massive amounts of data — basically, all that is said on Facebook and Twitter — to paint a picture of, well, what is happening on the social networks, even if it’s hard to swallow.

“They’re not scary,” Gibney says. “They’re funny, thrilling, interesting and frustrating at the same time.”

On this, and many other subjects — the 2016 presidential election in particular — it’s hard to disagree.

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