feedback loops used to bully people


Senior Member
Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

When you see how fast attitudes toward lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people have changed in just five years, argued Marina Gorbis, executive director at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, “you have to believe it has something to do with so many young people being immersed in what is increasingly a global dialogue—often about values.” This system, she added, “amplifies everything that goes through it, so it creates feedback loops used to bully people, and it creates more points of interaction and many more opportunities for people who are homophobic to meet a gay person.

I know what "bully people" means (in school, some students often bully weaker ones), but what does "feedback loops used to bully people" mean?

Thank you.
  • b4nny

    Senior Member
    English - US
    A "feedback loop" refers to a system whose outputs "feed back into" the system's inputs. In other words, the output of the system is somehow connected to the input of the system.

    I agree, this specific phrase "feedback loops used to bully people" is a little unclear. I would re-phrase it as "feedback loops that result in bullying", because from my understanding, the bullying is an unfortunate result of feedback loops. Feedback loops are not directly used as a tool for bullying.

    In this specific case, the feedback loop seems to refer to the concept of an "echo chamber", which is a community where people are surrounded by like-minded peers and are isolated from different opinions. This type of community arises on the internet a lot, because the internet allows like-minded people from around the world to find each other. Also, internet users can be very selective about what content they see, to the point that some users only ever see content that they agree with. This kind of community and feedback loop of ideas could result in bullying of outsiders.
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