As social media gradually takes over a bigger share of political communication and discourse, the jury is still out on what this will do to the overall quality of discussion.
Scholars say social media can be a bane when it is nasty, perpetuates misinformation or prompts hasty judgment. But it can also be a force for good when it forges more direct and authentic connections and projects underrepresented views.
Mr Vincent Harris, chief executive of Harris Media in the United States, argued that without social media, people could end up living in worse echo chambers, consuming only from media outlets that reflect their own biases. Social media at least allows for some “incidental exposure” to contrary views.
Social media can also be a boon when it provides a platform for disadvantaged or minority groups and viewpoints to get organized and be heard, said Mr Harris, who cited Egyptian protesters in the 2011 Arab Spring using social media to communicate and avoid the government crackdown.
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