Democracy is defined as “rule by the people” (Britannica, n.d.). Social media is interactions between individuals that take place in online communities and networks that involve the creation, sharing, and/or exchange of information and ideas (Tufts, 2021). The interaction of social media and democracy is democracy is all about information and social media will present that information. They both correlate with one another, social allows for democracy to skyrocket.
There are 34.47 million social media users in Canada in 2022 (Dixon, 2022). 78 percent of social media users, use Facebook (Dixon, 2022). There was about 18% of adults getting their political news on social media in United States (Atske, 2021). A good chunk of individuals distrust Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to. find political and election news (Atske, 2021).
The negative repercussions of fake news span from the micro level, which affects specific people, to the macro level, which affects media systems (Yang, 2021). Disinformation, often known as fake news, is described as intentionally created material that imitates traditional news and spreads to advance the objectives of specific groups or individuals (Yang, 2021). Both fake news and censorships can become frustrating online, Covid-19, is a huge example of it. There was so many fake news and censorships relating around Covid-19.
In the article written by Kitchens (2020), he stated the idea that social media use may restrict the information that users encounter or consume online, failing to foster a shared experience of free-flowing knowledge, is captured effectively by the metaphor of an echo chamber. People are exposed to information to outside their echo chambers but some individuals within their echo chamber do not trust this information which puts them in fear (Kitchens, 2020).
There has been an increase on social media of alt-right movement which implements advocating for political things like writing Trumps success (Marwick, 2017). It is called media manipulation where “conspiracy theorists, no-libertarians, white nationalists, men’s right advocate, trolls, bored young people and anti-feminists” are spreading their various beliefs (Marwick, 2017). To improve the visibility of the audience for their messages, these organisations target weak points in the ecosystem of the news media (Marwick, 2017). These groups are racist online, they will use deliberately offensive speech towards minority groups. This forces for a lot of hatred and violence to occur online. These groups take over the internet and target people by putting hatred and offensive speech against people who disagree to some political views. The rapid growth of race hate speech on the internet has become overwhelming to the capacity of states, corporations, or civil society to limit its spread and impact (Jakubowicz, 2017).
The internet has impacted the culture, politics, and interpersonal connections that I regard as essential to my identity in ways that I have always deemed advantageous to me personally (Bridle, 2017). Social media has impacted some people in the sense that it has shaped them, many people use it to discover new things or keep up to date with media. The amount of news you hear about music artists and other famous influencers just crazy. There is constant news being published on Instagram or Twitter to tell you what is going on that person’s life. Recently a music rapper named “Takeoff” was killed. My Instagram feed was flooding with news posts about how he died and who killed him. His daughter posted a Tik Tok saying how she found out her dad passed through media. We talk about how social media is sometimes the main source for finding out news but who knows if it is truthful or fake. The younger generation nowadays use social media a lot more than us which has negative effects. Using social media frequently can worsen sleep quality and is linked with high levels of anxiety and depression (Mayo Clinic, 2022). The interaction between social media and depression symptoms are very high at such a young age because of all the fake information and hurtful comments (Mayo Clinic, 2022).
Social media will always be democratic. No matter what information you want to talk about, there will be a group or an individual opposing to what you have to say. There will always be someone that will disagree with an opinion or fact. That is why social media has its perks, but it can be very controversial and toxic.
Yang, Jeongwon, and Yu Tian. ““Others Are More Vulnerable to Fake News Than I Am”: Third-Person Effect of COVID-19 Fake News on Social Media Users.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 125, 2021, pp. 106950–106950, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106950.
“Democracy.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/democracy.
“Social Media Overview.” Communications, 5 Mar. 2021, https://communications.tufts.edu/marketing-and-branding/social-media-overview/.
Atske, Sara. “4. Americans Who Mainly Got News via Social Media Knew Less about Politics and Current Events, Heard More about Some Unproven Stories.” Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, Pew Research Center, 22 Feb. 2021, https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/2021/02/22/americans-who-mainly-got-news-via-social-media-knew-less-about-politics-and-current-events-heard-more-about-some-unproven-stories/.
Dixon, S. (2022). Number of social network users in Canada from 2018 to 2027. Statista. https://www-statista-com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/statistics/260710/number-of-social-network-users-in-canada/
Marwick, Alice and Lewis, Rebecca. 2017. “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online“. Datasociety.net.
Jakubowicz, Andrew. “Alt_Right White Lite: Trolling, Hate Speech and Cyber Racism on Social Media.” Cosmopolitan Civil Societies, vol. 9, no. 3, 2017, pp. 41–60, https://doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v9i3.5655.
Kitchens, Brent, et al. “Understanding Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles: The Impact of Social Media on Diversification and Partisan Shifts in News Consumption.” MIS Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 4, 2020, pp. 1619–49, https://doi.org/10.25300/MISQ/2020/16371.
“How to Help Your Teen Navigate Social Media.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 Feb. 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teens-and-social-media-use/art-20474437.