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Obama avoids mentioning Trump in warning on divisive use of social media

Barack Obama being interviewed by Prince Harry for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that he guest edited. Picture by BBC Radio 4 Today, Press Association
Shaun Connolly, Press Association

Former US president Barack Obama has warned against using social media in a divisive way during an interview with Prince Harry.

Mr Obama did not mention his successor in the White House by name, but many will see the comments as a thinly veiled rebuke aimed at Donald Trump.

Questioned by Prince Harry as part of the royal's guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme, Mr Obama said there was a danger of people becoming stuck in their biases due to social media use.

The ex-president said: "The question, I think, really 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 our society, but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground?

"And, I'm not sure government can legislate that, but what I do believe is that all of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet.

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

President Trump has drawn widespread criticism for the way he uses Twitter to attack opponents, and condemn what he brands "fake news".

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