Social Media and Democracy: Response to an Artificial Debate
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Is there a threat to democracy posed by social media? That question has no merit. What exactly is social media doing to hurt democracy? Nothing, government is using social media, not the other way around. This is an artificially created debate, one in which many have engaged, mistakingly thinking that social media is more than what its name entails. Social media is exactly what it looks like, a digital social communication platform, nothing more.
The politicians are the threats to democracy, not the platform on which they choose to spread their message. Microphones, speakers, and stages are also not a threat to democracy. Social media for politicians is the online digital version of a live, televised speech. I’m surprised that people have chosen to have this debate, it’s ridiculous, but people always need to have something to fight against and think to death.
As far as social media being a international danger to democracy, that is inaccurate. Not every country has a democracy like the U.S., if any, so it’s either a threat to just us or politics in general, globally. If social media is dangerous for democracy, it is not an international issue. Each country will use social media in whichever way they choose because each country governs in whichever way they choose.
Social media is not bad for democracy, it is the people behind the accounts who can be bad for democracy. Politicians know that what they post on social media will be seen by millions of people, that is the point. Trump doesn’t want to start a group of like-minded people, or join a group on Twitter and become part of the “community.” He wants to talk and talk for all to see. For politicians, social media is a tool for talking points, and until people understand that, they will continue to fret and worry over social media’s impact on democracy. You always fear what you don’t understand.