Wait, isn’t social media supposed to practice freedom of expression? In theory, yes.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites tend to act as verbal dumpsters for any body and every body. Social media users tend to forget the impact behind each update and the security issues behind it. The damage it can cause is often forgotten or ignored. Social media has brought an irreversible global awareness that has posed a threat to the state. How can the cyber revolution truly pose a threat to the state, you ask? The power and control society has on social media exposes the true colors of the state and as a result loses legitimacy to the outside world. This portrays a shift in power within society between the citizens and the government. The upside to this is that it can strengthen the people and weaken the credibility of the state.
In response, many internet enemies have introduced heavy censorship surveillance to try and keep citizens under control. However, internet users are still willingly and knowingly risking their lives in hopes of any form of freedom from the state. These states have spent unimaginable amounts of money on monitoring and censorship systems but what I question is how effective this is. When witnessing the Arab Spring from abroad we can see the popularity of social media to communicate messages to not only the outside world but also within. Knowing how many of the updates are credible is unknown but what is advisable is to understand the impact and risks that accompany your 140 character tweet.
Most concretely, two Mexicans have been faced with thirty year trials after provoking online chaos. The math tutor and grandmother are in jail for “terrorism and sabotage charges for their tweets” (Johnson, Tim). These days it doesn’t take much to be heard and social media has made it very easy to for the civil society to make their voices heard.
What’s the message?