new media influence on social and political change in africa pdf

New Media Influence On Social And Political Change In Africa Pdf

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Despite these positive developments in the emerging democracy, the role of the South African media has also been strongly contested. The media itself bears the characteristics of the continuing severe socio-economic inequalities in the rest of South African society, and especially the print media have been accused of serving mostly an elite. Normative self-regulatory policy in the country has also been contested and has gone through several revisions in order to be more responsive to the needs of the developing South African society.

Social media use in politics refers to the use of online social media platforms in political processes and activities.

New Media Influence on Social and Political Change in Africa

Social media use in politics refers to the use of online social media platforms in political processes and activities. Political processes and activities include all activities that pertain to the governance of a country or area. This includes political organization , global politics , political corruption , political parties , and political values. The internet has created channels of communication that play a key role in circulating news, and social media has the power to change not just the message, but the dynamics of political corruption, values, and the dynamics of conflict in politics.

Social media have been championed as allowing anyone with an Internet connection to become a content creator [2] and empowering their users. New media, including social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, can enhance people's access to political information. Social media platforms and the internet have facilitated the dissemination of political information that counters mainstream media tactics that are often centralized and top-down, and include high barriers to entry.

The role of social media in democratizing media participation, which proponents herald as ushering in a new era of participatory democracy , with all users able to contribute news and comments, may fall short of the ideals. International survey data suggest online media audience members are largely passive consumers, while content creation is dominated by a small number of users who post comments and write new content.

Most people see social media platforms as censoring objectionable political views. In June , users of the Social Media platform TikTok organised a movement to prank a Trump Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma by buying tickets and not attending so that the rally appeared empty.

See also Social media and political communication in the United States. Adults in the United States who have access to the internet are increasingly getting political news and information from social media platforms. In addition, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, lead the social media platforms in which the majority of the users use the platforms to acquire news information.

But online news users are most likely to just talk about online news with friends offline or use social media to share stories without creating content. The rapid propagation of information on social media, spread by word of mouth, can impact the perception of political figures quickly with information that may or may not be true.

When political information is propagated in this manner on purpose, the spread of information on social media for political means can benefit campaigns. On the other hand, the word-of-mouth propagation of negative information concerning a political figure can be damaging. Social media, especially news that is spread through social media sites, plays into the idea of the attention economy.

In which content that attracts more attention will be seen, shared, and disseminated far more than news content that does gather as much traction from the public.

A communication platform such as social media is persuasive, and often works to change or influence opinions when it comes to political views because of the abundance of ideas, thoughts, and opinions circulating through the social media platform.

It is found that news use leads to political persuasion, therefore the more that people use social media platforms for news sources, the more their political opinions will be affected. Despite that, people are expressing less trust in their government and others due to media use- therefore social media directly affects trust in media use.

It is proven that while reading newspapers there is an increase in social trust where on the contrary watching the news on television weakened trust in others and news sources. A certain amount of trust is necessary for a healthy and well functioning democratic system. Younger generations are becoming more involved in politics due to the increase of political news posted on various types of social media.

Due to the heavier use of social media among younger generations, they are exposed to politics more frequently, and in a way that is integrated into their online social lives. While informing younger generations of political news is important, there are many biases within the realms of social media. In May , former Facebook Trending News curator Benjamin Fearnow revealed his job was to "massage the algorithm," but dismissed any "intentional, outright bias" by either human or automated efforts within the company.

A key debate centers on whether or not social media is a public good based on the premises of non-rival and non-excludable consumption. Social media can be considered an impure public good as it can be excludable given the rights of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to remove content, disable accounts, and filter information based on algorithms and community standards.

Arguments for platforms such as Google in being treated as a public utility and public service provider include statements from Benjamin Barber in The Nation. Similarly, Zeynep Tufeckig argues online services are natural monopolies that underwrite the "corporatization of social commons" and the "privatization of our publics. One argument that displays the nature of social media as an impure public good is the fact that the control over content remains in the hands of a few large media networks, Google and Facebook, for example.

Google and Facebook have the power to shape the environment under personal and commercial goals that promotes profitability, as opposed to promoting citizen voice and public deliberation. Proponents and aims for regulation of social media are growing due to economic concerns of monopolies of the platforms, to issues of privacy, censorship, network neutrality and information storage.

The discussion of regulation is complicated due to the issue how Facebook, and Google are increasingly becoming a service, information pipeline, and content provider, and thus centers on how the government would regulate both the platform as a service and information provider.

Opponents of regulation of social media platforms argue that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do not resemble traditional public utilities, and regulation would harm consumer welfare as public utility regulation can hinder innovation and competition.

Social media has been criticized as being detrimental to democracy. Eder points to failures of the Fourth Estate that have allowed outrage to be disguised as news, contributing to citizen apathy when confronting falsehoods and further distrust in democratic institutions. During the peak of the Egyptian Revolution of , the Internet and social media played a huge role in facilitating information. At that time, Hosni Mubarak was the president of Egypt and head the regime for almost 30 years.

Mubarak was so threatened by the immense power that the Internet and social media gave the people that the government successfully shut down the Internet, using the Ramses Exchange , for a period of time in February Egyptians used Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as a means to communicate and organize demonstrations and rallies to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak.

Statistics show that during this time the rate of Tweets from Egypt increased from 2, to , per day and the top 23 protest videos had approximately 5.

Though fake news can generate some utility for consumers, in terms of confirming far-right beliefs and spreading propaganda in favor of a presidential candidate, it also imposes private and social costs.

The likely collateral effects of these activities include compromising the fidelity of information, sowing discord and doubt in the American public about the validity of intelligence community reports, and prompting questions about the democratic process itself. The marginal social cost of fake news is exponential, as the first article is shared it can affect a small number of people, but as the article is circulated more throughout Facebook, the negative externality multiplies.

As a result, the quantity demanded of news can shift up around election season as consumers seek to find correct news, however the quantity demanded can also shift down as people have a lower trust in mainstream media. Algorithms can facilitate the rapid spread of disinformation through social media channels. Algorithms commonly create echo chambers and sow radicalism and extremist thinking in these online spaces.

Political advertisements —for example, encouraging people to vote for or against a particular candidate, or to take a position on a particular issue—have often been placed on social media. On 22 November , Twitter said it would no longer facilitate political advertising anywhere in the world. The United States Presidential Election was an example in which social media was used by the state actor Russia to influence public opinion. This was highlighted in when the Cambridge Analytica - Facebook scandal emerged.

The report alleges that CA may have coordinated the spread of Russian propaganda using its microtargetting capabilities. In October , Twitter announced its new policy that candidates will be forbidden to claim victory until their election win has been credibly projected by news outlets or officially certified.

Social media has a profound effect on elections. Often times, social media compounds with the mass media networks such as cable television.

For many individuals, cable television serves as the basis and first contact for where many get their information and sources. Cable television also has commentary that creates partisanship and builds on to people's predispositions to certain parties. Social media takes mass media's messages and often times amplifies and reinforces such messages and perpetuates partisan divides. Instead, social media creates a bandwagon effect when a candidate in an election commits an error or a great success, then users on social media will amplify the effect of such failure or success greatly.

The Pew Research Center finds that nearly one fourth of Americans learn something about the candidates through an internet source such as Facebook. Nearly a fifth of America uses social media with two thirds of those Americans being youth ages of The youth's presence on social media often inspires rallies and creates movements.

For instance, in the presidential election, a Facebook group of 62, members was created that sponsored the election of President Obama and within days universities across the countries held rallies in the thousands. Rallies and movements such as these are often coined the " Facebook Effect ". The Pew Research Center in a poll found that nearly 55 percent of social media users in the US indicate that they are "worn out" by the amount of political posts on social media.

With the rise of technology and social media continuing, that number increased by nearly 16 percent since the presidential election. Nearly 70 percent of individuals say that talking about politics on social media with people on the opposite side is often "stressful and frustrating" compared to 56 percent in In terms of social media's effect on the youth vote, it is quite substantial.

In the elections, nearly 31 percent of the youth voted compared to just 21 percent in Social media use among the youth continue to grow as around 90 percent of the youth use at least one social media platform. Of the 90 percent, 47 percent received information about the elections via a social media platform.

The messages shared on the social media platform often include messages to register to vote and actually carrying out their vote; this is in contrast to receiving the message from the candidate's campaign itself. Subsequently, of the first time youth voters in the election, 68 percent relied on social media to get their information about voting. This is in comparison to the traditional methods of being notified to vote of just 23 percent first time voters. Furthermore, just 22 percent of youth who did not hear about an election via social media or traditional means were very likely to vote; however, 54 percent of youth who found out about the election via social media or traditional ways were very likely to vote.

Social media often filters what information individuals see. Since , the number of individuals who get their news via social media has increased to 62 percent. The algorithms understand a users favorites and dislikes, they then begin to cater their feed to their likes. Consequently, this creates an echo chamber. Iowa State University finds that for older individuals, even though their access to social media is far lower than the youth, their political views were far more likely to change from the time periods, which indicates that there are a myriad of other factors that impact political views.

They further that based upon other literature, Google has a liberal bias in their search results. Consequently, these biased search results can affect an individual's voting preferences by nearly 20 percent. In addition, 23 percent of an individual's Facebook friends are of an opposing political view and nearly 29 percent of the news they receive on the platform is also in opposition of their political ideology, which indicates that the algorithms on these new platforms do not completely create echo chambers.

Washington State University political science professor Travis Ridout explains that in the United Kingdom the popular social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are beginning to play a significant role in campaigns and elections. Contrary to the United States which allows television ads, in the United Kingdom television ads are banned and thus campaigns are now launching huge efforts on social media platforms.

Ridout furthers that the social media ads have gotten in many cases offensive and in attack formation at many politicians. Social media is able to provide many individuals with a sense of anonymity that enables them to get away with such aggressive acts. For example, ethnic minority women politicians are often the targets of such attacks. For instance, PragerU , a conservative organization, often has their videos taken down. Media and social media often publish stories about news that are controversial and popular and will ultimately drive more traffic.

A key example is President Donald Trump whose controversial statements in often brought the attention of many individuals and thereby increased his popularity while shunning out other candidates. In the Presidential Election , social media was very prevalent and used widely by both campaigns. Despite the significant gap between the two, Biden's top tweets have outperformed Donald Trump's top tweets by nearly double. In terms of mentions of each candidate on Twitter, from October 21 to October 23, there were 6.

During the Presidential Debates , Biden had nearly two times the mentions as Donald Trump with nearly half of the mentions being negative.

The state of South African media: a space to contest democracy

Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Africa's continuing reliance on foreign aid has increased the opportunities for bilateral and multilateral aid agencies to influence policy making in the region. The major donors have been meeting frequently in order to discuss development and debt problems and to devise aid strategies for African governments. In turn, foreign aid has increasingly been linked to a set of prescriptions for changes in both economic and political policies pursued by African governments. The so-called new world order also has had significant effects on African governments.

In mid-July Chad lifted its month social media ban. This ended the longest social media blockage seen in any African country. The government argued that the lengthy ban was necessary for security reasons. The Chadian case highlights the way social media has increasingly been framed as a threat, especially by authoritarian leaders. Since the beginning of at least nine other African countries have also experienced government ordered internet shutdowns.

3. Concerns about democracy in the digital age

While transitioning from autocracy to democracy, media in Africa has always played an important role in democratic and non-democratic states; focusing on politicians, diplomats, activists, and others who work towards political transformations. New Media Influence on Social and Political Change in Africa addresses the development of new mass media and communication tools and its influence on social and political change. While analyzing democratic transitions and cultures with a theoretical perspective, this book also presents case studies and national experiences for media, new media, and democracy scholars and practitioners. Buy Hardcover.

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In mid-July Chad lifted its month social media ban. This ended the longest social media blockage seen in any African country. The government argued that the lengthy ban was necessary for security reasons. The Chadian case highlights the way social media has increasingly been framed as a threat, especially by authoritarian leaders.

This section includes comments about problems that were made by all respondents regardless of their answer to the main question about the impact of technology on democracy by These worries are organized under seven themes. These systems will keep every citizen under observation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, monitoring their every action. The re-emergence of public bigotry has nothing to do with technology, except to the extent that bigots use it to promote their malignant goals. Meanwhile, the institutions that are supposed to protect liberty — journalism among them — are mostly failing to do so. In a tiny number of jurisdictions, people have persuaded leaders to push back on the encroachments, such as a partial ban on government use of facial recognition in San Francisco. But the encroachments are overwhelming and accelerating.

In this perspective, it points out a series of processes common to all of Africa which have been provoking alterations in the original patterns. It lists a number of problem areas important for future research, but does not propose hypotheses for future patterns. This part is complemented by a critical discussion of the attempts at interpreting the political processes in Africa which have to date been made in the social sciences, denouncing their sometimes flagrant inadequacies. These developments have been as varied as they have been contradictory. They have also constituted a major source of challenge to political theory as different schools of thought grapple with them in terms of their weight and meaning. As can be imagined, there is no consensus on the most appropriate approach for interpreting the changes that are taking place in the structure, content and dynamics of African politics; indeed, efforts at conceptualizing the changes have produced a veritable Tower of Babel, with commentators not only speaking in different tongues but frequently past one another.


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