Thursday, September 21

Social Media As A Propaganda Tool

With technological advancements in today’s world, social media has become a tool for first world and second world countries to influence and shape perceptions of many people in the world. Media companies have a biassed view towards certain conflicts. We can use the Russia-Ukraine conflict as a practical example. Both sides are clearly using the media to manipulate the truth in their favour. When Russia launched its first attack on Ukrainian territory, there were rumours spread that the Ukrainian President Zelensky had fled the country which resulted in President Zelensky responding with a short video nullifying these rumours.

Media coverage by western media is biased towards Russia compared to the United States of America. You’d find social media outlets portraying the USA’s involvement in other states leniently compared to Russia’s war with Ukraine. One would say western media coverage is more favourable towards the USA compared to Russia. 

In real wars social media has become an effective tool to spread propaganda around the world. Uncle Sam army recruitment posters from World war one used symbols to represent strength and to create urgency by encouraging young men and women to join their war effort.

Media has become an effective way of spreading propaganda which is usually biassed towards one side. With little effort, it can reach millions of people in a short time period. The media has become an effective tool for spreading propaganda because content is usually removed or filtered out and the public is only shown what these media outlets want them to see. Biassed perceptions and opinions are created since certain news is filtered.

 Different actors disseminate propaganda and public opinions are influenced by these biased. Societies consist of different actors who each have their own propaganda to spread. Different societies in the community push their agendas through social media. The political landscape in the world has been transformed by news and social media. 

Populism has increased with the subsequent rise of media and technological advancements. Nowadays TV, radio, print press and social media platforms have become platforms for different actors to push their agendas in the world. Audiences have become more accessible and larger populations are reached in a shorter period. “The role of new social media is central to the populist movement because it represents political strategies used by different actors in the world”.

“Social media has its pros and cons that have an impact in shaping and creating biassed opinions within different parts of society”. According to Kamruzzaman, social media is able to unite diverse groups and individuals spread across the planet dedicated to specific issues, but it decreases the productivity level of the individuals and on the other hand, it does contain the potential to create a participatory economy, which can be beneficial for a particular country. 

Social media is said to have an impact on democracy and the civility in civic engagement. Social media is an important social network however if portrayed in by certain actors with a specific target by spreading information to certain parts of the population can be very dangerous in today’s world by influencing individuals towards a particular mindset and way of thinking. Social media has become a platform for fake news and propaganda.

The role of social media has clearly increased causing daily impact in people’s perceptions. You find good actors and bad actors in today’s societies which all disseminate news either positive or negative. Media has been used to spread propaganda as history has shown. During the cold war and world war, it was an effective tool for shaping the thoughts of many individuals. The South African regime used media to manipulate broadcasts to amplify their voices and to gain sympathisers around the world and within the country.

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