“Social networks unleash the strength of the crowd”

Social networks unleash the strength of the crowd
Social networks unleash the strength of the crowd

The Strength of the Crowd

It is the thermometer of our passions as of our neuroses, or even that of the functioning of our societies. Social networks play a crucial role in our lives and in major political events, the US presidential campaign, for example. But all social networks, from Twitter to Facebook via Snapchat, Instagram, or even TikTok, do not think in the same way. Where Twitter, on the occasion of the illness contracted by Donald Trump, recalled being ready to suspend (or make read-only) the account of anyone who claims to wish the death of the American president, as required by a rule in force since April, Facebook wants to bet on freedom of speech as long as the targeted person has not been tagged. “Content that calls for, hopes for, or expresses a desire for death, bodily injury or fatal illness against an individual is against our rules,” Twitter said.

For his part, Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015 and current head of international affairs and communication for Facebook, explains to Point that his teams “work all day to ensure that we fight interference, disinformation, and voter suppression ”. How? ‘Or’ What? “We have tripled the number of people working for more security, to reach 35,000 people,” he said on a conference call, where he was accompanied by Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy, and Sarah Schiff, the company’s Product Management Lead.

Their social networks continue to adjust our course in the countryside. On October 6, Facebook as well as its Instagram subsidiary announced that they were closing all accounts linked to the conspiratorial movement QAnon. “We have seen movements grow which, even if they do not directly organize violence, celebrate violent acts, show they have weapons and suggest they will use them or have fans susceptible to violent behavior. », Explained the social network. Finally, while he had already explained that “the political advertisements of the American campaign must come from people located in the country”, Facebook specified that.

Sufficient? While social networks continue to adjust the focus to better orient the role they play in the American campaign, we asked Olivier Babeau, the director of the think tank Institut Sapiens, for his opinion. In The New Digital Disorder (ed. Buchet and Chastel), the professor at the University of Bordeaux explains about social networks: “Reason is not successful, it is the emotion which is the most effective trigger of the reactions hoped for by the one who wants to maximize its number of “likes” and “retweet” ”, before adding:“ For each word of indignation added to a tweet, the share rate increases on average by 17%. Those who try to bring a little reason and appeasement to the flow of messages where emotion and excessive expressions dominate find it very difficult. »Is this still the case in the face of recent events? Decryption.

What role exactly do social networks play in the US presidential campaign?

A 2018 survey showed that 62% of American adults now prioritize information on a handful of platforms. The media used to be small and therefore relatively easy to control. They worked top-down with little interaction. But that age is over. Traditional media are marginalized. Between 2009 and 2018, the share of French high school students who said they read newspapers several times a month rose from 60% to 20%. 

The big national newspapers, which are still references in many minds, are more and more the parish bulletins of a small intellectual elite concentrated in the big metropolises. With social networks, each person is now a medium aggregating and amplifying with millions of others, of a way quite comparable to the Larsen effect obtained when two microphones face each other. The fundamental mechanisms of opinion making have changed and we are seeing the devastating consequences that this has in most democracies: the inability to engage in dialogue and the polarization of opinions which have become extreme. 

Trump and Biden

The recent televised debate between Trump and Biden was striking in this regard: it was more of two monologues embellished with invectives than an exchange of arguments. Opinions are forged and crystallized on social networks. And then, hardly any new information will have the capacity to change them. perceive the devastating consequences that this has in most democracies: the inability of dialogue and the polarization of opinions that have become extreme. 

The recent televised debate between Trump and Biden was striking in this regard: it was more of two monologues embellished with invectives than an exchange of arguments. Opinions are forged and crystallized on social networks. And then, hardly any new information will have the capacity to change them. perceive the devastating consequences that this has in most democracies: the inability of dialogue and the polarization of opinions that have become extreme. The recent televised debate between Trump and Biden was striking in this regard: it was more of two monologues embellished with invectives than an exchange of arguments. 

Opinions are forged and crystallized on social networks. And then, hardly any new information will have the capacity to change them. Opinions are forged and crystallized on social networks. And then, hardly any new information will have the capacity to change them. Opinions are forged and crystallized on social networks. And then, hardly any new information will have the capacity to change them.

China: The Technodictators

Technodictators like China skillfully use all the resources provided by new technologies to control populations. Travel, behavior, payments and exchanges on social networks are collected centrally. No wonder then that TikTok is linked to political power. In liberal democracies, the link between political leaders and social networks may exist, but on a more ad hoc basis. The problem is not that the rulers manipulate social networks, it is on the contrary that those who manage them do not have any kind of democratic legitimacy. The power of information, which was once in the hands of the state, has effectively been delegated to foreign platforms run by a few people. We haven’t finished witness the emergence of a new political order created by social networks. The latter are not, in any case, the providential tool of democratic renaissance that one might have hoped for.

Author avatar
Abdullah
I am Muhammad Abdullah, an SEO Strategist at Intelvue. I have very great interest in writing on latest trends of I.T field, SEO things, and services on the Internet.
We use cookies to give you the best experience.