Written by Saarthak Jain, a grade 9 student
There is no doubt that our life these days revolves around technology. We might only consider the internet to watch movies or TV shows or maybe just to know what interesting things are happening around the world but the fact is that technology apart from proving just gossip plays a huge role in every country’s democracy.
With social media platform growing every second and millions of people are on it, but the fact is that social media is relatively new and due to this fast growth of it, that has made these platform more delicate and these can therefore easily be damaged and change the perspective of it viewers extremely easily
These days are social media platforms connect millions of people together making fake news and propaganda spread more easily accessible and such information can change the perspective of teenagers and adults.
Internet platforms like Google, Safari, Firefox, etc earn money only when you as a viewer are on their website. So, they are companies seeking profits will do everything to make sure you are still interested in staying on their website no matter the content you are reading is fake or not. In fact, these platforms are programmed only to feed you the information you believe, and nothing else. These are what are called echo chambers where a person getting information that amplifies their belief making them more invested in said websites.
These echo chambers are also now responsible for polarisation, the division of two sharply contracting groups. Let’s take an extreme example to see how this works. Say some people believe (and want you to believe) that the earth is flat and others believe that the earth is an ellipsoid/ sphere. However, is each and every article you see is from this so- flat earth society and they only talk about the fact that the earth is flat, then after a point of time you will become convinced of their theories. The algorithms (caused by polarisation created by the social media platforms) will not show you any alternate information – so you will end up believing that the earth is flat. Such is the power of social media – it can easily change one’s perspective with just a few articles.
Also, during elections, every campaign has a budget for advertising. In the 2016 US elections, for example, where Trump used Facebook to advertise, Facebook saw which people had not made up their minds, and thus showed them ads to try and change their perspectives. This is how propaganda/ lies can spread easily.
Another way a social media website can change one’s perspective is by blocking and suppressing ads and articles that may threaten or expose a politician. This way again an echo chamber forms, as only one side of the story is available amplifying someone’s belief that has been built on propaganda.
Echo chamber, polarisation ads, and suppression of a specific kind of article and storied are some of the ways social media platforms alter our perspectives and also affect the elections.
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