Overview: Social media has impacted our democracy and will continue to do so in the years to come. New technologies spread messages instantaneously, which allows citizens and voters immediate access to information, political figures, and an audience.
Overview: Social media has impacted our democracy and will continue to do so in the years to come. New technologies spread messages instantaneously, which allows citizens and voters immediate access to information, political figures, and an audience. As a result, we continue to see that social media plays an integral role in government, politics, civics, and democracy.
Respond to these essay prompts. You are reporting your ﬁndings as well as asserting your opinions, which are supported by evidence.
– How is (has) social media threatening democracy?
– How is (has) social media helping democracy?
– Do you believe social media is a net positive or overall a negative for democracy?
Your research does not have to be limited to the U.S.
Your assignment requires you to write a 1,900 – 2,400 summary of your observations and assessments.
You will reference at least two specific case studies to support your claims.
You are required to use at least three separate sources.
Use APA style.
Submit it on Blackboard. No late work accepted.
What Effect Does Social Media Have on Democracy?
A lot has changed since then. The 2016 US presidential election brought to the fore the risks of foreign meddling, “fake news” and political polarization. The effect of social media on politics has never been so crucial to examine.
All of this raises an important question: what effect does social media have on democracy?
As the product manager in charge of civic engagement on Facebook, I live and breathe these issues. And while I’m an optimist at heart, I’m not blind to the damage that the internet can do to even a well-functioning democracy.
That’s why I’m dedicated to understanding these risks and ensuring the good far overshadows the bad.
With each passing year, this challenge becomes more urgent. Facebook was originally designed to connect friends and family — and it has excelled at that. But as unprecedented numbers of people channel their political energy through this medium, it’s being used in unforeseen ways with societal repercussions that were never anticipated.
In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognize how bad actors were abusing our platform. We’re working diligently to neutralize these risks now.
We can’t do this alone, which is why we want to initiate an open conversation on the hard questions this work raises. In this post, I’ll share how we are thinking about confronting the most consequential downsides of social media on democracy, and also discuss how we’re working to amplify the positive ways it can strengthen democracy, too.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Around the US 2016 election, Russian entities set up and promoted fake Pages on Facebook to influence public sentiment — essentially using social media as an information weapon.
Although we didn’t know it at the time, we discovered that these Russian actors created 80,000 posts that reached around 126 million people in the US over a two-year period. This kind of activity goes against everything we stand for. It’s abhorrent to us that a nation-state used our platform to wage a cyberwar intended to divide society. This was a new kind of threat that we couldn’t easily predict, but we should have done better.
Now we’re making up for lost time. The Russian interference worked in part by promoting inauthentic Pages, so we’re working to make politics on Facebook more transparent. We’re making it possible to visit an advertiser’s Page and see the ads they’re currently running. We’ll soon also require organizations running election-related ads to confirm their identities so we can show viewers of their ads who exactly paid for them. Finally, we’ll archive electoral ads and make them searchable to enhance accountability.
As critical as this plan is, it poses challenges. How, for example, do we avoid putting legitimate activity at risk? Many human rights organizations commonly use Facebook to spread educational messages around the world. The wrong kind of transparency could put these activists in real danger in many countries.
But we’re committed to this issue of transparency because it goes beyond Russia. Without transparency, it can be hard to hold politicians accountable for their own words. Micro-targeting can enable dishonest campaigns to spread toxic discourse without much consequence. Democracy then suffers because we don’t get the full picture of what our leaders are promising us. This is an even more pernicious problem than foreign interference. But we hope that by setting a new bar for transparency, we can tackle both of these challenges simultaneously.