WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21:  U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sing together as they dance during the Inaugural Ball at the Walter Washington Convention Center January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn-in for his second term of office earlier in the day.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sing together as they dance during the Inaugural Ball at the Walter Washington Convention Center January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn-in for his second term of office earlier in the day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:53
Obama: 'I've got dad moves'
obama cleveland 09132018
CNN
obama cleveland 09132018
Now playing
01:07
Obama campaigns in Ohio: Remember when economic miracle started
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Former U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the crowd during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. This is Obama's first campaign rally for the 2018 midterm elections. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Barbara Davidson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Former U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the crowd during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. This is Obama's first campaign rally for the 2018 midterm elections. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:48
Obama's story of getting booted out of Disney
CNN
Now playing
01:08
Obama says Republicans are offering phony civility
Obama speech
CNN
Obama speech
Now playing
00:47
Obama: How hard is it to say Nazis are bad?
Dog Tag Bakery
Now playing
01:13
Watch Obama and Biden surprise bakery staff
Pool
Now playing
02:19
Obama: Trump capitalizing on resentments
CNN
Now playing
05:03
Obama unleashes on Trump and GOP
CNN
Now playing
01:51
Obama: We don't have a permanent elite
BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 25: Former President of the United States of America Barack Obama after a discussion about democracy at Church Congress on May 25, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Up to 200,000 faithful are expected to attend the five-day congress in Berlin and Wittenberg that this year is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. (Photo by Steffi Loos/Getty Images)
Steffi Loos/Getty Images
BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 25: Former President of the United States of America Barack Obama after a discussion about democracy at Church Congress on May 25, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Up to 200,000 faithful are expected to attend the five-day congress in Berlin and Wittenberg that this year is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. (Photo by Steffi Loos/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:05
Obama's message to Dems: Do more than mope
Emma Langsner
Now playing
00:59
Obamas jam at Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert
title: File uploaded by user duration: 00:00:00 site:  author:  published:  intervention: no description:
AFPTV,POOL (SEE SCRIPT)
title: File uploaded by user duration: 00:00:00 site: author: published: intervention: no description:
Now playing
00:38
See Obama dancing in Kenya
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
01:49
Obama meets with potential 2020 candidates
flotus michelle obama interview with oprah jpm orig_00000126.jpg
flotus michelle obama interview with oprah jpm orig_00000126.jpg
Now playing
05:26
First lady on Trump: We'll help in any way
Former U.S. President Barack Obama, left, delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. In his highest-profile speech since leaving office, Obama urged people around the world to respect human rights and other values under threat in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela's birth. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Themba Hadebe/AP
Former U.S. President Barack Obama, left, delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. In his highest-profile speech since leaving office, Obama urged people around the world to respect human rights and other values under threat in an address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela's birth. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Now playing
02:25
Obama: 'Utter loss of shame' among politicians
President Barack Obama speaks at Goalkeepers 2017, at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 20, 2017 in New York City.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
President Barack Obama speaks at Goalkeepers 2017, at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 20, 2017 in New York City.
Now playing
01:01
Obama rips GOP attempts to repeal Obamacare

Story highlights

Letterman's new series debuts on Netflix on January 12

(CNN) —  

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on the potential consequences of Russian meddling in social media platforms during the 2016 election in a new interview with David Letterman.

“What the Russians exploited, but it was already here, is we are operating in completely different information universes,” Obama told Letterman in the first episode of Letterman’s new Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” “If you watch Fox News you are living on a different planet than you are if you listen to NPR.”

The comment came after Letterman asked, “Let’s just say there’s a democracy and the voting process is being monkeyed with by foreign countries. … Hypothetically, what is more damaging to that democracy: Would it be the diminishment by the head of democracy of press, or would it be somebody screwing around with the actual voting process?”

“One of the biggest challenges to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts,” Obama said.

He went on to discuss the use of social media in his 2007 campaign, noting that at the time people didn’t realize the power – and potential dangers – of platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

“We were some of the earliest adapters of social media,” he said of his campaign staff. “And we were reliant on a bunch of 22- and 23-year-olds, and volunteers … they were communicating entirely through social media. We essentially built what ended up being the most effective political campaign probably in modern political history. So I had a very optimistic feeling about it. I think what we missed was the degree to which people who are in power … can in fact manipulate that and propagandize.”

Letterman then quipped: “I was under the impression that Twitter would be the mechanism by which truth was told around the world.”

Social media has also led to political polarization, Obama said.

“If you are getting all your information off algorithms being sent through phone and it’s just reinforcing whatever biases you have, which is the pattern that develops,” he said, “at a certain point, you just live in a bubble, and that’s part of why our politics is so polarized right now. I think it’s a solvable problem but I think it’s one we have to spend a lot of time thinking about.”

The interview, which was about an hour long, debuts on Netflix on Friday. Guests scheduled for the rest of Letterman’s shows include George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern.