We Actually Needed Social Media in 2020

But scrutiny of Facebook and its peers was at an all-time high

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As the Before Times started crumbling this spring, brought down by the revelation that the coronavirus was here to stay, the physical world gave way to an altered plane. Changes came quickly: Coffee shop chatter quieted down, hand sanitizer disappeared from shelves, and we even adopted a medical-grade hand-washing technique, thinking it might be enough to keep our bodies virus-free. And then everything shut down.

When quarantine hit, our physical lives were minimized. But our digital lives were ready for this moment, curated over the past decade, a period when social media firms became the largest companies in the world and the most dominant forces in our daily lives.

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