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Jakarta Post

Insight: How information technology threatens democracy

  • Kofi A. Annan
    Kofi A. Annan

    Former United Nations secretary-general, chairs the Kofi Annan Foundation

Munich   /   Wed, February 21, 2018   /  08:26 am
Insight: How information technology threatens democracy Social media’s ideological “echo chambers” exacerbate people’s natural biases and diminish opportunities for healthy debate.  (shutterstock.com/Hadrian/File)

The internet and social media were once hailed for creating new opportunities to spread democracy and freedom. And Twitter, Facebook and other social media did indeed play a key role in popular uprisings in Iran in 2009, in the Arab world in 2011 and in Ukraine in 2013-2014. Back then, the tweet did at times seem mightier than the sword. But authoritarian regimes soon began cracking down on internet freedom. They feared the brave new digital world, because it was beyond the reach of their analogue security establishments. Their fears proved unfounded. In the event, most social mediaenabled popular uprisings failed for want of effective leadership, and traditional political and military organizations retained the upper hand. In fact, these regimes have begun to wield social media for their own ends. We have all heard the allegations that Russia covertly used social media to influenc...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.