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Barack Obama warns against 'irresponsible' social media use in interview with Prince Harry

Obama was interviewed by Prince Harry, who took the role as guest editor on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

Barack Obama and Prince Harry
Barack Obama and Prince Harry
Image: Danny Lawson via PA Images

FORMER US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has warned against the irresponsible use of social media, in a BBC interview.

Obama warned that irresponsible use of social media is distorting society’s understanding of complex issues, along with spreading false information.

He said that people in a position of power should exercise care when posting messages on social media.

While the current US president Donald Trump is prolific and often controversial, Twitter user, Obama didn’t mention him during his comments on the use of social media.

Obama was interviewed by Prince Harry, who took the role as guest editor on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

The ex-president spoke at length about young people during his chat with Prince Harry.

He expressed concern about a young people growing up in a future where facts are disregarded and people only read and listen to things that reinforce their own views.

“This generation coming up is the most sophisticated, the most tolerant in many ways, the most embracing of diversity, the most tech savvy, but they don’t have must faith in existing institutions,” Obama said.

One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.

“The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanisation of society and allows ways of finding common ground,” he said.

Handing over to Trump

Prince Harry quizzed Obama on handing over the reigns to Trump last year.

Obama said that he had mixed feelings, considering “all the work that was still undone”.

“Concerns about how the country moves forward but, you know, overall there was serenity there,” Obama said.

Prince Harry also used his position to ask Obama a “lightning round” of quick-fire questions.

Obama refused to answer whether he wears boxers or briefs, but he was willing to admit he likes Aretha Franklin more than Tina Turner.

“Aretha is the best,” he said.

Prince Harry is one of several prominent figures who are guest-editing to Today programme over the Christmas period.

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