Promoting negative sentiments about good things is just as malicious and dangerous as promoting harmful things
It has become normal to talk about political “tribes” these days, instead of mere parties or policies. The implication is a deeper feeling of affiliation, one that approaches family and is very hard to break. Your entire identity is wrapped up in the tribe and once you are a member, leaving can come with dire consequences.
The rise of online tribes requires new strategies for countering the spread of misinformation. Simply putting accurate information online isn’t enough; it must target the communities most in need of it and do so in a way that will succeed, not push them further away.
But how do we convince people to believe in facts when their personal beliefs and doubts get in the way? That is just what I discuss with well known American pollster Frank Luntz in our latest conversation in my lockdown series.
Shared opinions and positions alone can be the basis of tribes today
Notice the trend: the shrinking, increasingly specific criteria for tribal affiliation. The loyalty and fanaticism once reserved for a family connection or a supreme being can now be found in the supporters of a politician or a few policy positions.
The passion in these tribal groups can border on religious, which is dangerous in its own right. When you think your beliefs are not only right, but that those who disagree with them are apostates, it leads easily to escalation and even violence.
Thanks to social media, tribal alliances can now be formed ..