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Social Media and Politics

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  • 10-03-2019 3:40pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 28,210 ✭✭✭✭


    (Strazdas) It's been an accident waiting to happen. A dumbed down electorate, a poor education system, a feeling that Britain is the most important country in Europe and that everywhere else is inferior. Couple that with a lying, corrupt, trashy press feeding into people's prejudice and failed political system and you have the current debacle.

    It's not that Britain has the appearance of being a basket case country at the moment, it genuinely is one. Everything has gone wrong at the same time. The fall from grace from being one of the most respected countries in the world has been shocking.

    This post in another thread interested me as it could, with a name change or two, refer to the USA. Two major influential countries gone 'mad' at the same time. To what extent has social media influenced this political and social upheaval? The end results are similar, are there any common threads in the start of the process in the two countries?

    Is it as simple as, up to relatively recently the principal outlets for opinion were newspapers and radio/television, and while these had their faults and their biases there was at least a degree of thought and intelligence going into what was published? That no longer applies.

    While there are some thoughtful and intelligent people offering opinions (boards has some very good contributors) they are overwhelmed by the easy-read clickbait stuff that the likes of Trump are experts at. It doesn't have to be true, it just has to be popular, sensationalist, diversionary. The NHS/EU advertising bus was admitted to be untrue the day after the Brexit referendum; it didn't matter, the referendum passed.

    Is all this the political 'will of the people', or mass hysteria fanned by social media?


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 40,061 ✭✭✭✭Harry Palmr


    Well the only thing that holds across the board (and boards.ie is also an example) is that the more people who have the means to express a thought or opinion there is the greater the level of ignorance and/or stupidity and/or mendaciousness. It's hard to believe that the internet was once the preserve of the best educated people in the world but for a few short years it was - then the cost of access tumbled so the man on the Clapham omnibus has gone global and spectacularly ubiquitous - it is now possible to talk truth to destruction and replace facts with lies that enough people will believe to matter come the expression of hard won universal suffrage. Brexit being a perfect example.

    The will of the people is not a fixed thing - it's as manipulable as it ever was. The difference now is that those who are determined can tweak the view of millions over time just enough to shift a vote by a few % points and create a whole new paradigm. The Russians in particular realised this a few years ago and have been spending big to create an environment which suits their interests with the aid of corrupt figures in the west. See Aaron Banks


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,100 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious


    The was social media works is a huge factor.

    Because I like something on a social media platform the technology will then promote similar content to the top of my reading list, literally.

    Thus it becomes a echo chamber and people never get the alternative view.

    And it will only get worse.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,837 ✭✭✭Edward M


    Well the only thing that holds across the board (and boards.ie is also an example) is that the more people who have the means to express a thought or opinion there is the greater the level of ignorance and/or stupidity and/or mendaciousness. It's hard to believe that the internet was once the preserve of the best educated people in the world but for a few short years it was - then the cost of access tumbled so the man on the Clapham omnibus has gone global and spectacularly ubiquitous - it is now possible to talk truth to destruction and replace facts with lies that enough people will believe to matter come the expression of hard won universal suffrage. Brexit being a perfect example.

    The will of the people is not a fixed thing - it's as manipulable as it ever was. The difference now is that those who are determined can tweak the view of millions over time just enough to shift a vote by a few % points and create a whole new paradigm. The Russians in particular realised this a few years ago and have been spending big to create an environment which suits their interests with the aid of corrupt figures in the west. See Aaron Banks

    Just on that best educated bit, not sure of that, most affluent perhaps, but not necessarily the best educated.
    People love mouthing off, there is a platform now where anybody can say virtually anything and not have to prove the verasity of their comments.
    Facebook is rife with anarchistic bull and people liking it and then sharing it.
    Politicians are all users, of people, of hysteria, of stupidity that is non achievable in any context of the realities of real life.
    Brexit and Trump are examples of hysteria gone mad in some ways, but basically bringing out the injustice people sometimes feel when they see their own situations in the country they live, work and pay taxes in. The free movement of individuals from other jurisdictions hopping on what is perceived to be a gravy train welfare system to help all these others while they have to wait for things like medical treatments for example.
    Social housing, a major bone of contention, while our own are being thrown out of their homes for non payments.
    It's very easy to highlight one thing against the other making the voter wonder wtf he or she is voting for.
    It's very hard to compete with idealism which isn't achievable in realism.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Think of it as a few hundred million 'news' outlets. People will give as much credibility as suits their view. If you read something sounds about right to you, you'll be more likely to believe it.
    Where the true 'fake news' comes in is when major stake holders like the President of the United States starts calling news fake. This adds credibility to the can't trust the media narrative and casts doubt on all 'legitimate' news sources. Then add to that the idea that 'liberal' media won't tell you, this or that.
    There has always been bias in the media, but any outright lies are generally found out to the detriment of that news source.
    In this age however we've the likes of Piers Morgan rightly fired, only to become a social media celebrity and news commentator.

    Social media is a massive influence as Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase 'global village' and so it is. We can hear whispers from somewhere become theory and gather weight like gossip in the local bingo hall but sometimes on a global scale. It stands to reason companies and other entities would have teams of people spreading their twist on a narrative.

    News outlets like a scandal, hysteria. Even genuine news items are often given hype. Social media just means we've more players and instant access. This allows even completely unfounded stories gather enough steam to do damage in the court of public opinion.
    Any political party not availing of social media would be fools.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,217 ✭✭✭friendlyfun


    Social Media has had a destabilising effect on modern politics to the point I think it has changed it completely. Trumps image became a meme among some young male voters in the US and this made him attractive to them. His Twitter account had huge impact on his election. I believe that Facebook are largely ineffective in their "fight" against Fake News, I'd argue its very simple to create Fake News.

    There are still a lot of Irish politicians who fail to use it effectively. You need more than have a website, how are you going to reach out to younger voters? (Also an increasing number of older users in Ireland are using social media too!). I think its going to be a key to the success of many politicians in the future, just in the way T.V was for John F Kennedy during the Nixon Debate.

    I don't see social media has something in a negative/positive light because it can have both effects. The fact that anybody can create media contact and find an instant audience can be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. A parent with a sick child can find donators to her child's cancer fund, or Anti-Semites can find a forum to spread their hatred on 4chan.

    In an Irish context there's not a lot of research done on the impact of Social Media on politics.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,778 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    all surveys say tv is more influential and radio in .ie


  • Registered Users Posts: 41,021 ✭✭✭✭Annasopra


    So many people are very naive and gullible nowadays. They have a huge distrust of politicians and mainstream media but instantly believe the vast majority of what they read or see online. There is very little questioning, critical thinking or reflection in social media.

    It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.

    Terry Pratchet



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,282 ✭✭✭✭Eric Cartman


    Social media seems to be a great way for the left to target the poor and uninformed that their vote base makes up.

    facebook pages like 'galway anti racism network' etc.. which are astroturf fronts for pbp/aaa generate a lot of support this way. Theres tonnes of groups like this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,652 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko


    Social media seems to be a great way for the left to target the poor and uninformed that their vote base makes up.
    You're in for a bit of a shock when you find out how Trump got elected and how Brexit was won.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,217 ✭✭✭friendlyfun


    So many people are very naive and gullible nowadays. They have a huge distrust of politicians and mainstream media but instantly believe the vast majority of what they read or see online. There is very little questioning, critical thinking or reflection in social media.

    I think its due to the ease at which false statements can be distributed. And also now if you disagree with something you don't like, you can just say "Fake News" like what Trump does all the time when the mainstream media sees through is obvious lies.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    I think its due to the ease at which false statements can be distributed. And also now if you disagree with something you don't like, you can just say "Fake News" like what Trump does all the time when the mainstream media sees through is obvious lies.

    Speaking of which Trump came out with this yesterday I believe:
    We have to do something. I have many millions of followers on Twitter, and it is different than it used to be. Things are happening, names are taken off. People are not getting through. You've heard the same complaints. It seems to be that if they are conservative, Republicans, or in a certain group, there is big discrimination. I see it absolutely on Twitter, and Facebook, which I have also, and others I see. I really focus more on the one platform. I have many different platforms, I guess we have almost 60 million on Twitter, and if you add them all up it is way over 100 million people. And I get to see first hand what is going on, and it is not good.

    We use the word "collusion" very loosely all the time, and I will tell you that there is collusion with respect to that, because something has to be going on. When you get the back office statements made by executives of the various companies, and you see the level of hatred that they have for a certain group of people, that happen to be in power, and happen to have won the election, you say that is unfair.

    Something is happening with those groups of folks running Facebook, Google, and Twitter. I think we have to get the bottom of it. It is collusive and it is very fair to say that we have to do something about it.
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/03/19/trump_i_see_big_discrimination_against_conservatives_on_twitter_looks_like_collusion.html

    Old fashioned right wing tactic of blaming others for what they do themselves. Fake News for example dismisses an entire section of the media he doesn't like as lies and yet he's crying about being discriminated against and not being allowed get his message through on the other.
    He's throwing up distractions. The idea Twitter is silencing Trump some how is hilarious.
    I suppose if you take everything you read on social media as fact or lies regardless of it likely being mere gossip, your boundaries are pretty screwed as is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,347 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Speaking of which Trump came out with this yesterday I believe:



    Old fashioned right wing tactic of blaming others for what they do themselves. Fake News for example dismisses an entire section of the media he doesn't like as lies and yet he's crying about being discriminated against and not being allowed get his message through on the other.
    He's throwing up distractions. The idea Twitter is silencing Trump some how is hilarious.
    I suppose if you take everything you read on social media as fact or lies regardless of it likely being mere gossip, your boundaries are pretty screwed as is.


    The problem for the left in respect of social media is that conspiracy theorists have gained control of a lot of the narrative. When you have people coming out with stuff like low corporation tax causing our housing crisis, or that the highest paid nurses in Europe need more money or that the government is actively keeping the housing market heated to the detriment of the tax paying public, then the left lose all credibility with those in the middle, and they turn to the likes of Trump and Johnson for solutions, who for all their huge faults on policy, are charismatic individuals who attract large (but misguided) followings as a result.

    This is even more reinforced by the insularity of social media. Not only do we see Facebook, Twitter and the like produce algorithms that tell you what you want to hear (ironically, most of these left-wing conspiracy theorists learn more about the evils of Facebook on that platform than anywhere else :D:D) but on discussion boards like this, you regularly see people loudly proclaim that they have blocked certain posters and viewpoints that they disagree with. I have no problem with someone rejecting a clear racist or sexist point of view and blocking it, but blocking opposing political views because you don't like them is the height of insularity and the epitome of the problem of social media interacting with politics.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    blanch152 wrote: »
    The problem for the left in respect of social media is that conspiracy theorists have gained control of a lot of the narrative. When you have people coming out with stuff like low corporation tax causing our housing crisis, or that the highest paid nurses in Europe need more money or that the government is actively keeping the housing market heated to the detriment of the tax paying public, then the left lose all credibility with those in the middle, and they turn to the likes of Trump and Johnson for solutions, who for all their huge faults on policy, are charismatic individuals who attract large (but misguided) followings as a result.

    This is even more reinforced by the insularity of social media. Not only do we see Facebook, Twitter and the like produce algorithms that tell you what you want to hear (ironically, most of these left-wing conspiracy theorists learn more about the evils of Facebook on that platform than anywhere else :D:D) but on discussion boards like this, you regularly see people loudly proclaim that they have blocked certain posters and viewpoints that they disagree with. I have no problem with someone rejecting a clear racist or sexist point of view and blocking it, but blocking opposing political views because you don't like them is the height of insularity and the epitome of the problem of social media interacting with politics.

    I was quoting and commenting on Trump, following on from him being raised by another. I don't see why you feel the need to defend the right and attack 'the left' while quoting my post. Also you seem to agree with me regarding Trump. Odd.
    However to your point, I agree to an extent. If conspiracy theorists didn't have a lot of sway over social media Trump wouldn't be were he is now. "Lock her up", 'the internet is out to get me', "fake news" and so on.
    You are dipping into right wing apologist propaganda yourself here. Views and opinions of the facts are valid, not 'conspiracy theory' how ever much you may disagree. Ranting about conspiracy theories when you meet an opinion you don't like is in line with this thread and Trump for that matter as regards people trying to twist opinion they don't like as 'fake' or 'conspiracy theories' IMO.
    As regards blocking people, no point in talking in circles with rude people or trolls. Social media is full of them.
    People are free to arrive at any opinion they like. People confusing opinion based on hard facts on social media, as being sold as absolutisms is the problem you seem to be suffering from. An opinion is a person's view of a situation. If you think Jazz is terrible that doesn't make it fact and I can disagree with you. Basic stuff.
    Social Media, well it's in the name really.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,023 ✭✭✭✭Joe_ Public


    We’ve come along way since the days of twitter sparking the Arab spring, haven’t we? I always found those claims a bit dubious myself, certainly a bit overblown at least, but what is certain is that the days of social media being automatically regarded a benign influence on social discourse are long over.

    I don’t have a solution but the ideal is in finding a way to limit the wild west nature of the internet. If responsible figures want to use it to spread misleading conjecture and falsehoods then there should be a way of being held accountable for it. A politician knowingly misleading parliament will be held dearly to account for it. Why is it he could put the exact same false information on twitter to no consequence? That is a problem for me.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,219 Mod ✭✭✭✭Bannasidhe


    Social media seems to be a great way for the left to target the poor and uninformed that their vote base makes up.

    facebook pages like 'galway anti racism network' etc.. which are astroturf fronts for pbp/aaa generate a lot of support this way. Theres tonnes of groups like this.

    By the same token it's equally a great way for the right to target those who feel their way of life is being threatened by whom ever is the 'other' of the day (immigrants, unemployed, Muslims, feminists).

    It's not a left/right thing. The problem is that thanks to social media a lie can get global reach before the truth has even logged on. Couple that with a lack of critical thinking and you get a critical mass of gullibility.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    We’ve come along way since the days of twitter sparking the Arab spring, haven’t we? I always found those claims a bit dubious myself, certainly a bit overblown at least, but what is certain is that the days of social media being automatically regarded a benign influence on social discourse are long over.

    I don’t have a solution but the ideal is in finding a way to limit the wild west nature of the internet. If responsible figures want to use it to spread misleading conjecture and falsehoods then there should be a way of being held accountable for it. A politician knowingly misleading parliament will be held dearly to account for it. Why is it he could put the exact same false information on twitter to no consequence? That is a problem for me.

    I think in situations like the Arab Spring it was more to do with word of mouth bypassing state media.
    It's a tough one all right. I would never take my news from some random Facebook account. Like any media, I'd find sources you feel are reputable and others that corroborate the same story.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,347 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    I was quoting and commenting on Trump, following on from him being raised by another. I don't see why you feel the need to defend the right and attack 'the left' while quoting my post. Also you seem to agree with me regarding Trump. Odd.
    However to your point, I agree to an extent. If conspiracy theorists didn't have a lot of sway over social media Trump wouldn't be were he is now. "Lock her up", 'the internet is out to get me', "fake news" and so on.
    You are dipping into right wing apologist propaganda yourself here. Views and opinions of the facts are valid, not 'conspiracy theory' how ever much you may disagree. Ranting about conspiracy theories when you meet an opinion you don't like is in line with this thread and Trump for that matter as regards people trying to twist opinion they don't like as 'fake' or 'conspiracy theories' IMO.
    As regards blocking people, no point in talking in circles with rude people or trolls. Social media is full of them.
    People are free to arrive at any opinion they like. People confusing opinion based on hard facts on social media, as being sold as absolutisms is the problem you seem to be suffering from. An opinion is a person's view of a situation. If you think Jazz is terrible that doesn't make it fact and I can disagree with you. Basic stuff.
    Social Media, well it's in the name really.

    I was neither defending the right, nor attacking the left.

    I was trying to explain why the left has lost control of the narrative, mainly due to several interlocking factors, ranging from the conspiracy theory element which pervades their discourse to the sheer insularity of so much social media.

    Whether it is chemtrails, bank bailouts, flouride, Denis O'Brien, vaccines, etc., you see these conspiracy theories being adopted by otherwise reasonable left commentators on social media that inevitably lead to the middle switching off and not listening.

    You say that there is "no point in talking in circles with rude people or trolls. Social media is full of them". Actually, there is. While they may appear to be rude people or trolls, is that their behaviour or your failure to engage with the arguments they make. I ask myself that question everytime I come across someone I vehemently disagree with.


    Edit: Just went over to the Brexit thread and I read a post saying we pay no heed to independent.ie around here. Completely makes my point for me.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    blanch152 wrote: »
    I was neither defending the right, nor attacking the left.

    I was trying to explain why the left has lost control of the narrative, mainly due to several interlocking factors, ranging from the conspiracy theory element which pervades their discourse to the sheer insularity of so much social media.

    Whether it is chemtrails, bank bailouts, flouride, Denis O'Brien, vaccines, etc., you see these conspiracy theories being adopted by otherwise reasonable left commentators on social media that inevitably lead to the middle switching off and not listening.

    You say that there is "no point in talking in circles with rude people or trolls. Social media is full of them". Actually, there is. While they may appear to be rude people or trolls, is that their behaviour or your failure to engage with the arguments they make. I ask myself that question every time I come across someone I vehemently disagree with.



    Edit: Just went over to the Brexit thread and I read a post saying we pay no heed to independent.ie around here. Completely makes my point for me.

    You citing vaccines, chemtrails and Denis O'Brien in the same breath really sums it up ;)
    You are taking peoples opinions as them putting forward absolutes and then liking them to conspiracy theories because you disagree, if that's not the epitome of Trump style calling out of 'Fake News' I don't know what is.
    You're confusing trolling with debate and discussion. Being rude and dismissing an opinion as fake news or finding you've run out of road and changing the goal posts to suit, is not discussion and it being a somewhat free format, (social media) we don't have to take it. It's up to individuals were they take their politics from, social media is what it is, social media.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,070 ✭✭✭Franz Von Peppercorn


    blanch152 wrote: »
    There were some people going around on social media claiming that Irish Water was being set up purely so that it could be sold to Denis O'Brien. That is a conspiracy theory akin to chemtrails. As clear an example of fake news as there has been in Ireland.

    Hardly. It may or may not be true but that kind of conspiracy - politicians working in the interests of businessmen - is common. In the case of O’Brien we had a few years of tribunals about that very subject.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,827 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Mod: Try and keep to social media please.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,210 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    you see these conspiracy theories being adopted by otherwise reasonable left commentators on social media that inevitably lead to the middle switching off and not listening.

    This obsession with 'left' and 'right' is a little baffling. I honestly can't say I would attach any of the theories mentioned to left or right, assuming I still know what is meant by left and right. It seems to be a lazy way of trying to direct discourse when you really don't know what you are talking about, or are able come up with a reasonable argument. If social media could manage without all the tags - left, right, snowflake, racist, feminist, and many more that are now pretty much meaningless, there might be more moderate discussion as people would actually have to think about what they were saying and use language for which there is a consensus of meaning.


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