Bishop blames social media – not Brexit – for ‘bitter’ division

Bishop blames social media - not Brexit - for 'bitter' division

The Right Reverend Simon Burton-Jones, who has been an outspoken critic of social media, says it is responsible for the animosity within communities.

And while politicians are being blamed for their failure to reach agreement over leaving the EU, the online platforms are also making their profession more dangerous.

In a special election message the Bishop said: “The way we discuss issues of local and national importance has become bitter and divisive.

“It is tempting to think this is a function of the impasse over Brexit, but there are signs it goes deeper and wider than this.”

He added: “Social media has opened up a vista of nastiness where public servants are being threatened in the ordinary course of their duties.

“We are also slowly waking up to the way those who want to undermine our democracy are using social media to set people against one another and to confuse and demoralise all. Both may be evident in this election.”

He says these processes are eroding public faith in the longstanding structures of society and belief in the concept of communal values.

“Meanwhile, trust in the institutions that glue us together and help build community is being eroded at just the moment we can ill afford this.

“As time passes, it feels like there is less of a coherent set of ethics with which to shape our common life.

“The language of community is routinely deployed, but it feels evanescent, like the echo of a voice in a cave, rather than the voice itself.”

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