Is the Power of Social Media Undermining Democracy?

Is the Power of Social Media Undermining Democracy?

Issue Summary

Social media is now being manipulated as a tool for propaganda to influence elections, policies, societies, and attitudes. Governments, religions, movements, people, and any other social groups can use social media as a tool for any purpose. Initially, social media was considered as a tool to empowering marginalized groups and individuals in their efforts to be heard and prompt change. However, this notion has changed and now it is being used for the wrong reasons. Chenoweth argues that dictators are now using social media to undermine democratic institutions around the world. On the hand, Margetts argues that social media is transforming the politics and defends it against claims that it has contributed to Brexit and Trump presidential win. The power of social media has contributed to the ever-increasing waves of protest and unrest even for minor political standoffs.

Reflection on the issue and the YES side

Social media has positive and negative impacts on democracy. The government should regulate the use of social media to reduce some of the pressure it is putting on democracy. However, I think social media is a net ‘good’ for civic engagement. Companies operating social media platforms should collaborate with civil society groups to safeguard theseplatforms.

In the wake of Russian-bought ads and fake news, which marred the 2016 United States presidential election, I now believe that social media is undermining democracy. Many voters are misinformed during the electioneering period and end up making the wrong choices. Since there are still no laws regulating the use of social media, it allows anyone to create and share misinformation and fake news. Disinformation tactics and online manipulation undermine democracy. I think most authoritarian governments are using social media to clamp down on dissent and deny its people a fair chance to vote for leaders they really want.

 
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