Delegate: Ms. Yagkoubi
59. Ms. Yagkoubi (Netherlands), speaking as a youth delegate, said that, as a Dutch girl raised in the Netherlands by her Moroccan parents, she had always been fascinated by diversity and identity. Research indicated that over the past year polarization and divisive sentiment had risen in her country among people of different ethnicities, those in different income groups and those with divergent political views. People derived their world view from their immediate surroundings, and when they lived only among others like themselves, it was natural that polarization would develop. Social media exacerbated the problem when algorithms ensured that users were exposed to more content similar to what they had already chosen to view. Someone who read an article written from an extreme standpoint, for instance, would repeatedly and increasingly be presented with reinforcing views, so that the ideas could become so deeply entrenched that an encounter with someone of a different persuasion would lead that person to react aggressively, out of fear.
60. However, social media could also provide a means to escape those same ideological bubbles; it offered platforms for activism and opportunities to raise social consciousness and foster global interconnectedness. It facilitated empathy and a sense of connection. So long as the human aspect of social media remained, polarization could be impeded. People must be aware of the complexity of one another’s identities and avoid the reductive tendency to characterize others on the basis of a single feature. Most of all, people must talk to those who were different, whether culturally, socioeconomically, or perhaps most importantly, in view of the world’s current predicament, those with different political opinions.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/74/SR.3