In this video, produced by the Strand Book Store in New York City, Jon Haidt speaks with Chris Bail, author of Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing, about how social media distorts our identities, empowers status-seeking extremists, and renders moderates all but invisible.

Chris Bail, a Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Data Science at Duke University, draws on innovative online experiments and in-depth interviews with social media users from across the political spectrum to explain why stepping outside of our echo chambers can make us more polarized, not less. Bail takes you inside the minds of online extremists through vivid narratives that trace their lives on the platforms and off―detailing how they dominate public discourse at the expense of the moderate majority. Wherever you stand on the spectrum of user behavior and political opinion, he offers fresh solutions to counter political tribalism from the bottom up and the top down. He introduces new apps and bots to help readers avoid misperceptions and engage in better conversations with the other side. Finally, he explores what the virtual public square might look like if we could hit “reset” and redesign social media from scratch through a first-of-its-kind experiment on a new social media platform built for scientific research.