web analytics

Social Media – A force for good?

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, November 22nd, 2019 - 8 comments
Categories: censorship, facebook, internet, Media, Politics, social media lolz, twitter, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , ,

Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s blog 

There is plenty of criticism about the role that Social Media plays in democracy. There have been plenty of high profile cases such as the Cambridge Analytica where people’s personal data from Facebook had been used without people’s consent. This data was then used by those campaigning for Brexit.

After the horrific terror attacks in New Zealand earlier this year there was considerable criticism about the role social media had played. There have been plenty of other examples of the far right using social media to promote messages of hate and bigotry.

But social media can also be a force for good. I have used Facebook live to film a Wellington Regional Council meeting where they were discussing the future of the regions bus service. The media had failed to show up to this event, and it was this tool which meant drivers and concerned members of the public could be kept informed.

Social media played a significant role in the 2017 UK election. The so-called youth quake where under 30s turned out to vote in much higher numbers than usual, is largely attributed social media campaigns run by Momentum and other campaign groups.

Since living in the UK I have seen how social media plays a vital role. In early 2018 there were large protests in London demanding increases for to NHS funding. The BBC didn’t bother to report on these protests at all. After days of considerable social media footage and posts, US president Donald Trump mentioned the protests in a tweet (where he inaccurately claimed people were protesting against the NHS, when in fact they were demanding more funding). Only after Trumps Tweet did the UKs national broadcaster bother to report that these protests had occurred.

In my previous post I alluded to some of the common complaints and concerns about traditional media. The beauty about social media is that anybody can publish anything. It’s very hard to suppress a story or completely shut down a debate as did often happen in the pre internet age. Conversely though, it does mean anyone can post anything. And it means people can pretend to be someone they are not, or present something in a deliberately misleading way.

During the ITV leaders debate on Tuesday, The UK Conservative Party changed their twitter handle to factcheckUK. This allowed the Conservatives to rebut statements made by Labour, not as the Conservatives but by pretending to be an independent fact checker site. Twitter has condemned this action and warned the Conservatives they will take action if it happens again.

The account description during the debate was 'Fact Checking Labour from CCHQ'
The UK Conservative Party change their twitter handle to factcheckUK during the ITV election debate. Twitter has said the Conservatives mislead the public by doing this. 

Two days later the Conservatives were at it again. They released a fake Labour manifesto page on the same morning that the Labour Party were releasing their manifesto in Birmingham. There has been widespread criticism that the Conservative Party are using digital media to run a misinformation campaign.

A major discussion is happening globally about how much freedom of speech there should be on social media. There are growing calls for social media platforms to monitor their content, and calls for platforms to remove misleading or offensive content. There is  concern that during elections it is too easy to spread misinformation which could then affect the election outcome.

As someone who has used social media platforms to run campaigns or to engage in political discussion and debates, I can see both sides. Misinformation is never a good thing. Social media has at times meant certain voices or perspectives get a hearing that  struggled to do so with traditional media. But that in turn also means certain voices many of us are uncomfortable hearing from, such as the far right, also get a voice.

We should be wary of calls for greater regulation, censorship or general control over what can and can’t be published online. Who do we want policing this? Social media companies like Facebook or Twitter? They are private businesses with their own motives. The government? We can see above a government using online media to spread misinformation – do we really want them being the censors?

Social media offers enormous opportunities to improve our democratic societies, and engage people in debate and discussion in ways that haven’t been possible in the past. But like traditional media, it is far from perfect. In the UK we’ve seen it used to engage young voters and to get news stories out that otherwise wouldn’t have been given airtime. But we also see political organisations using social media deceptively.

Social media platforms are still relatively young, and are still developing as democratic tools. As citizens we should decide what we want our social media to look like. Also to call out and expose those who try to use it for ill or deception.

To support Momentum campaign for a Corbyn led Labour Government in the UK you can give your support here.

8 comments on “Social Media – A force for good? ”

  1. Paaparakauta 1

    All UK Labour have to do is repeatedly ask

    "would you buy a used car from this man ?"

    [Strike Two. There are several moderation notes for you to respond to. See the most recent one here: https://thestandard.org.nz/hypocrite-3/#comment-1668162 – Incognito]

  2. Climaction 2

    I’m sure it can be a force for good, but uk momentum seem to use it for ill, promoting conspiracy theories and formenting anti semitism .

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/25/labour-has-widespread-problem-with-antisemitism-momentum-founder-jon-lansman

  3. Ad 3

    Great and very balanced post, weathered through hard campaign experience.

    I've been thinking about this one ever since Habermas talked about the necessity of speech in a vibrant social democracy.

    I share Bridges' concern about unifying TVNZ and RNZ for exactly the same reason that the Commerce Commission has resisted all attempts to merge NZME with Stuff: we need diverse voices.

    With decreased media voices we are far, far more reliant in political campaigns on social media to get the messages out. Good and bad, there's no turning back .

  4. Ad 4

    And in breaking news, Labor are proposing free internet.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/15/free-broadband-essential-uk-compete-john-mcdonnell-labour-policy-openreach

    Funded through taxes on the likes of Google and Facebook.

    I would love to see that floated here.

    The only way that the internet can be reclaimed as a force for the common good is if it is owned for the common good and distributed as a service-of-right like housing and roads for the common good.

  5. AB 5

    Social media is neither a force for good or a force for bad. It depends on who owns it and how it's used. The problem here seems to be that it's the Tories that are a force for bad – so they use the technology dishonestly.

  6. Incognito 6

    Indeed, the dilemma that is social media and the way it challenges us. As with everything, e.g. natural resources, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, toxic chemicals, it depends on how we use them. Are we aware of intended and unintended consequences, in the short and long term? Do we adjust our behaviour(s) accordingly? Social media are tools but they can also be (deadly) weapons. We need to figure out to wield and use them wisely or at our peril. No different from sex or food.

    Great post, BTW.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government support screen industry with funding for sound stages in West Auckland
    Auckland Film Studios in West Auckland has received funding for a major expansion through the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group’s (IRG) COVID-19 Response Fund. The Government is investing $30 million of a total $35 million project to construct two 2,000sqm sound stages and development of further workshops and offices, to expand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Protecting unique land for generation next
    The Government is boosting legal protection for critically important natural habitats on private land, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “An $8 million investment over four years will see Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Ngā Kairauhī Papa (QEII) work with government agencies, councils and others to provide legal protection of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response continues with vaccine delivery, operational ...
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced further support for Fiji, including funding support for nursing staff and 100,000 doses of vaccines due to arrive in country today. “Our thoughts remain with Fiji during this incredibly challenging period,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “New Zealand has funded 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Poroporoaki: Dr Hōhepa (Joe) Mason
    Ko koe tēnā e te hurumanu e Hōhepa, te tōwenetanga a te iti, te māpihi herenga mahara o te tini, ka tauawhi tonuhia koe e to iwi ki te uma pupuri ai. Me pēhea he kupu kia koutou kua puta i nga ākinga a nga tau kua hori, kua waia ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Finance Minister and RBNZ Governor agree to update MOU on macro-prudential policy
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr have updated the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on macro-prudential policy to further protect the financial system and support the Government’s housing objectives. “This change will ensure that the Reserve Bank has the flexibility to respond to emerging financial stability risks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government commits further assistance for drought and flood-affected rural communities
    Farmers and growers affected by this year’s drought or floods in Marlborough, Tasman, West Coat, Canterbury, Otago and the Chatham Islands will have access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) from today, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced. “The Government is committed to easing the financial pressures on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Cook Islands youth lead Language Week
    The Cook Islands Language Week theme for 2021 highlights the vital role language plays in maintaining young people’s links to their Pacific home, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  “The Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani – Cook Islands Language Week – theme is ‘Ātuitui’ia au ki ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government offers formal apology for Dawn Raids
    A formal and unreserved apology for the Dawn Raids The Government will offer education scholarships as part of the apology Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Scholarship Training courses Support Pacific artists and historians to develop a comprehensive written and oral account of the Dawn Raids Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Dawn Raids Apology
    Tēnā koutou katoa, Kia orana kotou katoatoa, Fakaalofa lahi atu ki mutolu oti, Tālofa nī, Mālō nī koutou, Ni sa bula vinaka, Fakatalofa atu, Noa'ia 'e mauri, Kam na mauri, Malo e lelei, Sioto'ofa, Mālō lava le lagi e mamā ma le soifua maua, Oue tulou, tulou atu, tulouna lava ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bridging the gap – last piece of Northcote Safe Cycle Route now complete
    The opening of two bridges over Auckland’s Northern Motorway is the last link of a cycling and walking route which provides a safe, active alternative for students and commuters, Transport Minister Michael Wood said today. Michael Wood cut the ribbon for the completion of the Northcote Safe Cycle Route, at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Progress in establishment of Aged Care Commissioner
    Recruitment for an Aged Care Commissioner will start next month, to ensure greater oversight of New Zealand’s aged care sector. “This sector is responsible for supporting a large and often vulnerable population. While most people are able to access quality care, there have been cases where that care has fallen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New record number of homes consented
    In the year ended June 2021, the actual number of new dwellings consented was 44,299, up 18 percent from the June 2020 year. In June 2021, the seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented rose 3.8 percent. In June 2021, 4,310 new dwellings were consented, an increase of 3.8 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Communities backed to tackle wilding pines
    Twelve community projects across New Zealand will receive a share of $2 million to carry out wilding pine control, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced as part of Biosecurity Week. “Wilding pines are a serious problem that threaten many of the unique landscapes that New Zealanders value. Community groups and trusts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little responding to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation's rejection of ...
    I was advised last night that the result of the ballot of Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation members have rejected the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement. Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation introduced to Parliament
    Legislation has been introduced to Parliament to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Introducing the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, said the measures proposed were aimed at ending conversion practices which don’t work, are widely ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction services to support people in central North Island
    New mental health and addiction services rolling out across the central North Island will improve outcomes and equity for Māori, Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health) Peeni Henare says. Today the Minister met with providers of the new kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction service, Poutama Ora, which will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New school site for booming West Auckland
    The Government will build on a new school site in West Auckland to cope with rapid population growth in the area, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Ministry is working with existing local schools to determine how the 1.5-hectare site at 279 Hobsonville Point Road will be used to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
    A further 500 MIQ rooms released for managed returnees from NSW Further Government actions announced today are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says. The actions were foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for a portfolio of projects that will create ‘game changing’ gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau as part of the Government’s acceleration of the economic recovery from COVID. “This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
    New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, Acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. New Zealand secured 7.6 million doses (enough for 3.8 million people) of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bowel-cancer screening programme is saving lives
    More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017. The screening programme aims to save ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt welcomes draft report on the retail grocery sector
    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech at the launch of the National Hepatitis C Action Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you Anglesea Pharmacy and Te Manawa Taki for hosting this event. As a doctor, I saw first hand the impact of hepatitis C. I met Moana in 2019; she came to the infectious diseases outpatient clinic at Wellington Hospital having tested positive for hepatitis C. Like ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago