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Social Warming

The Dangerous and Polarising Effects of Social Media

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An impassioned exploration of the ways in which social media has manipulated us all

Nobody meant for this to happen.

Facebook didn’t mean to facilitate a genocide.

Twitter didn’t want to be used to harass women.

YouTube never planned to radicalise young men.

But with billions of users, these platforms need only tweak their algorithms to generate more ‘engagement’. In so doing, they bring unrest to previously settled communities and erode our relationships.

Social warming has happened gradually – as a by-product of our preposterously convenient digital existence. But the gradual deterioration of our attitudes and behaviour on- and offline – this vicious cycle of anger and outrage – is real. And it can be corrected. Here’s how.

‘Social media was meant to bring us closer together. Instead, it tore us apart. Charles Arthur has written the definitive account of how arrogance and greed got us into this mess, and how we might get out of it. Witty, rigorous, and as urgent as a fire alarm.’

– Dorian Lynskey

‘A guide to how the apps we use every day are hacking our politics, our society, and even who we are. It reads like science fiction, except he’s describing our world – right now.’

– Ian Dunt