Social Media: Great for Surveillance, Not So Great for Democracy

January 13, 2023

Duh? Friday the 13th.

Respected polling organization the Pew Research Center studied the impact and views that social media has on democratic nations. According to the recent study: “Social Media Seen As Mostly Good For Democracy Across Many Nations, Except US Is A Major Outlier” the US does not like social media meddling with its politics.

The majority of the polled countries believed social media affected democracy positively and negatively. The US is a large outlier, however, because only 34% of its citizens viewed social media as beneficial while a whopping 64% believed the opposite. The US is not the only one that considered social media to cause division in politics:

“Even in countries where assessments of social media’s impact are largely positive, most believe it has had some pernicious effects – in particular, it has led to manipulation and division within societies. A median of 84% across the 19 countries surveyed believe access to the internet and social media have made people easier to manipulate with false information and rumors. A recent analysis of the same survey shows that a median of 70% across the 19 nations consider the spread of false information online to be a major threat, second only to climate change on a list of global threats.

Additionally, a median of 65% think it has made people more divided in their political opinions. More than four-in-ten say it has made people less civil in how they talk about politics (only about a quarter say it has made people more civil).”

Despite the US being an outlier, other nations used social media as a tool to be informed about news, helped raise public awareness, and allowed citizens to express themselves.

The majority of Americans who negatively viewed social media were affiliated with the Republican Party or were Independents. Democrats and their leaners were less likely to think social media is a bad influence. Younger people also believe social media is more beneficial than older generations.

Social media is another tool created by humans that can be good and bad. Metaphorically it is like a gun.

Whitney Grace, January 13, 2023


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta