Social media networks are a wonderful tool and allow for connections with people from all walks of life – but it is dangerous to pretend that it has allowed for further open-mindedness and democracy. The problems being faced by these platforms are rampant and the movers and shakers in the industry are urgently trying to repeal these problems – a sizable task for people of any stature.
We now live in a world where every person on social media and the Internet at large is entitled to an opinion, one that many broadcast loud and proud for all to see. But does this mean that social media has allowed for media to be more democratic? I would argue no, it has instead widened that gap more than we’ve ever seen before.
Different social media networks have become echo chambers that only allow for one dominant viewpoint and narrative, especially when discussing things like politics, religion, and civil rights. The “wrong” opinions are buried using “down vote” systems like those seen on Reddit. If down voting alternative opinions doesn’t work, then those with differing views are harassed in comments sections and made to feel shame for their views. Heated debates can be observed on every major social media platform, leading to objectors blocking, deleting, or ignoring those who hold different opinions.
This demonization comes from all sides of the spectrum, and isn’t simply contained to social media platforms. The Internet is unique in that it allows for people to broadcast highly controversial and inflammatory remarks and suffer little to no consequences for doing so. It has created a divided Internet in every sense, and repairing it seems like a near impossible task. I would not call this a democratic system.
To read about how social media echo chambers helped to influence the recent US election, check out this great article: https://goo.gl/D0MaEQ