The Guardian

Why is populism booming? Today’s tech is partly to blame | Jamie Bartlett

Social media platforms are the perfect places to deny nuance in favour of extreme opinions – and we are hooked on them
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook: ‘The more content is shared the more advertising revenue it generates.’ Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Rightwing populists around the world have had a good couple of months. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats won 17.6% of the vote in September’s general election, making theirs the third largest party in the Riksdag. In Brazil, the far-right firebrand Jair Bolsonaro has become president. And in Italy, being in power doesn’t seem to have damaged Lega Nord or its coalition partner, Five Star.

What’s going on? There are lots of good reasons why voters want change. The right says immigration levels and an out-of-touch elite are helping the outsiders. The left points to and financial insecurity, noting the 10th anniversary of . But neither acknowledges that populism is a style of politics as much as a because our political culture is evolving to fit the media we communicate through.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Guardian

The Guardian8 min readPolitics
Point Comfort: Where Slavery In America Began 400 Years Ago
In 1619, a ship with 20 captives landed at Virginia, ushering in the era of slavery in what would become the United States
The Guardian3 min readTech
Invisibility Cloaks And 3D Masks: How To Thwart The Facial Recognition Cameras | Stuart Jeffries
In the brave new world of proliferating surveillance technology, human ingenuity is rising to the challenge
The Guardian2 min read
British Explorer Is First Person To Complete 4,000-mile Yangtze Trek
Ash Dykes, 28, had to overcome a landslide, blizzards and being followed by a pack of wolves