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Social Media News - Social Media as Government Watchdog

In a recent article for The Wall Street Journal, L. Gordon Crovitz writes about the power of the internet and social media over Government. Social media allows anyone with access to the internet to view what's happening in the world in real-time. With the recent announcement that Facebook is due to buy a company that manufactures solar-powered drones, thus enabling them to provide internet to parts of the world that are currently offline, this trend of social media as a government watchdog will only increase.

Source: dnaindia.com

The article by Crovitz touches on a very valid point; social media is slowly changing the way we perceive world events.

Now, we are all aware of the power of social media at this point. It helps to connect people from all corners of the world, and even more so with the proposed drones of Facebook. It is an integral part of political elections, news corporations and large events, such as the Superbowl. With the growing ease of communication, we are not only informed of events directly as they happen, but are also given a wide range of viewpoints on each event.

This all provides any state-controlled organisation less influence over our perception of said events. Take the recent BBC scandals; the BBC has undergone much criticism over the last year for the cover-up of the Jimmy Saville scandal. Nowadays, social media demands interaction, continuing conversation and transparency. It could be said that had it been around for longer, such scandals may not have been able to continue for quite so long.

Either way, looking at concrete evidence from recent news, such as the Russian involvement in Crimea, it is easy to see how social media is influencing our perception of current affairs. As cited in the article, social media allows us too see straight through Putin's justification for a Russian presence in Crimea as "protecting ethnic Russians". Given the fact that there was no social media outcry from ethnic Russians in Crimea, there is sound reason to think that Russia get involved maybe isn't as necessary as they claim it is.

Crovitz also introduces us to the book "Now I Know Who My Comrades Are", written by Emily Parker, which investigates the role of the internet in Russia, Cuba and China. The book looks into the role of the internet as a force for freedom. The internet can help people to learn that they are not alone in their desire for freedom and liberty, and helps them to connect with others who are undergoing a similar struggle.

The idea of media as a government watchdog has been around for a long time. However, the problem that arises in some countries is that media can be state-controlled. There are some programmes that arose before the advent of social media, such as Witness, that tried to circumvent state-controlled media and give citizens a voice. Witness is an organisation that has distributed cameras to over 60 countries, enabling them to film human rights abuses and raise awareness of political injustice. The advantage of the internet nowadays is that similar projects can take place on an ever larger scale. In other words, state media can "try to shape narrative, but citizens can go online and seek the truth".

Source: globalvoicesonline.org

Essentially, social media is causing politicians to think very carefully about what they promise, say and do. Those that don't tread carefully are at risk of ruining their chances for a fruitful career. The internet can cause many a politician or prominent personality to ruin their reputation instantaneously.

Charlotte is a trainee journalist, who loves writing about anything and everything. Currently an intern at Social Media Frontiers, you can follow her @charlotteatsmf and @CharlotteR_4

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Social Media News - Social Media as Government Watchdog Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, March 14, 2014 Rating: 5
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