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    Politicians Free Speech in Social Media

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    However, most of the posts on the platform are harmful. According to a study, about 80% of the activity on Twitter is about themselves and their thoughts. (Naaman, Boase, & Lai, 2010). The danger arises from the other 20% when issues of social, cultural, and political import are filtered through the lens of Twitter, for Twitter infects public discourse like social cancer. (Brain, 2017) On Donald Trump’s recent tweets, he wrote: “It will cause a Civil War like a fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Saying that should he be accused. There were voices from democrats that Trump should be banned from Twitter. According to the poll, 51 percent of voters are saying that Trump’s using Twitter is hurting national security, 53 percent say it is hurting the country’s position in the world and 57 percent say it is decreasing his own reliability. (Steven, 2017) However, Twitter said it was in ‘the public interest’ to not remove politicians’ tweets but they will take action if an account threatened an individual.

    Many Democrats have said President Trump’s tweets do threaten individuals. (BBC, 2019) Trump intermittently makes false statements on social media and has made other, similar threats. (Hanna, 2019) Also, Trump was able to achieve considerable unpaid or free media for himself, mostly through Twitter during the election and this can be considered of his tactics to become the 45th president of the United States. Using media tracking data and public opinion surveys, the results reveal that Trump surely dominated the unpaid media market. (Peter, 2017) Making an advertisement on Social media such as Twitter or Facebook can let information directly go to the public. Candidates who can control a large social media have the potential to announce their campaign straight to an audience of millions. Of course, you can say the same to traditional campaign advertising on TV or a poster, however, social media has the advantage of cutting off the high costs that come with traditional 30-second television advertisements (West, 2014). It also means that advertising in social media can have a strong effect on a voter’s decision. Studies have shown that mass media and social media use is positively correlated to an individual’s voting behavior. Essentially, the more they look to mass media and social media for information, the more likely citizens are to vote. (Pinkleton, Austin and Fortman, 2010, p. 39 cited by Annie, 2011) In the 2016 presidential election, Trump made an advertisement that accuses the former Vice-President Joe Biden of offering Ukrainian officials a billion dollars to drop a case against his son Hunter which was released on the 2nd of October.

    The ads were seen by more than four million people, including a six-second video edited to make it seem like Biden openly confesses to the scheme. (Sue, 2019) The company refused when the Biden campaign asked Facebook to remove the ad. Nick Clegg, the vice president of Global Affairs and Communications of Facebook said at the Atlantic Festival in Washington DC “To use tennis as an analogy, our job is to make sure the court is ready – the surface is flat, the lines painted, the net at the correct height. But we don’t pick up a racket and start playing. How the players play the game is up to them, not us.” He also said “Freedom of expression is an absolute founding principle for Facebook. Since day one, giving people a voice to express themselves has been at the heart of everything we do.” Although Facebook did make mistakes in 2016 such as the incident of Russia tried to use Facebook to intrude with the election by spreading distribution and wrong information, Facebook is making regulations for to not make it happen again. They also tightened the rules on political ads. As written above many problems accrue when politics involve in social media however, there are ways to prevent this to happen and those ways are not just to stop politicians to use social media. They are multiple approaches to how should politicians use social media and how to improve it.

    Recently, voters emphasize easy and attractive content over reliable and commonplace electability. This lead Facebook and Twitter being considered essential campaign tactics. Therefore, politicians need to be more careful than before when using social media. On Barak Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, he created an unexpected force to raise money, organize locally, and get out the vote that helped them collapse the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans” (Carr, 2008). Because of this, Obama made a political revolution using social media in a way that no one has ever seen before. Moderately Obama’s success was because of the use of social media. Not only that Obama used social media for his self-interest, but he also encourages people to be active. While he was doing his campaign, Obama received 55 dollars in donations just by enabling people to link to a site called My Bo just by clicking his social media or websites (Penenberg, 2009 p11 cited by Annie, 2011) One reason social media is effective is that it motivates younger people to vote. In most countries older people are more likely to vote than younger people, and it is considered as a problem because it means that decisions for the country is biased on only some people. Nonetheless, Twitter and Facebook have increased younger voters, which, gives profound impact on elections. Also, regardless of age, depending on the voter the most effective sites are different.

    According to Annie’s study, there was a strong connection between the political party and the respondent of the survey about their desire for how politicians’ social media sites should be. Republicans and Independents tend to value “professionalism” and “trustworthiness” in a social media site. “Professionalism” means the combination of all the qualities that relate to trained and skilled people and “trustworthiness” means the quality or fact of being trustworthy (Cambridge dictionary). Contrarily, Democrats emphasize “personable” content. This shows that they might have different needs for politician’s social media sites depending on whom the candidates are trying to reach. In Annie’s further research McCotter’s Twitter site was known as having “too much personal information” and his “tweets led to the media and other politicians were not satisfied with it.” These comments show how the personable content can give a negative impact on other politicians if they do not use it prudence. Another reason why social media is effective is that politicians can give instant feedback to the monitor. In other words, voters can easily reach out to their politicians. Social media platforms offer a forum from which campaign coordinators can judge feedback and public opinion, without having to hire pricy consultants or polling firms. (MMM, 2019) However, it can be a negative perspective depending on how politicians reply to them.

    Politicians must be aware that they have a strong power to influence people even though if it is just a tweet or a post in Facebook. It can make a confusion very easily and has a strong impact. Therefore, politicians need to be very careful when using social media. People are not comfortable with candidates or political figures tweeting the same way ordinary people tweet. (Annie, 2011) However, if we restrict the use of social media it will threaten the foundations of democracy. Also, to make social media more effective we need to make individuals avoid being deceived by misinformation circulating on social media. At the end it is one’s own responsibility on how they interpret the information they get from social media and it depends on the viewer on how they understand politicians’ actions on social media. Therefore, there are many reasons why social media is effective in our democratic society and there are many ways how to make it more effective and making less cause of disruption.

    In conclusion, there are plenty of improvements that need to be done to make social media more truthful and transparent. If you look at the Millian view, only speech causing harm to people should be banned and that does not mean that people can be restricted for their freedom of speech just because of their social status or jobs. It is difficult to classify what speech, post or tweet should be restricted however, in a democratic society political speech is an essential part of how democracy functions. It comes to a result that using social media for political reasons motivates younger people to vote, politicians can give instant feedback to the viewer and politicians opinion or thoughts can go through the public without any barrier. Also, the study shows that politicians who give updates on their personal life with a mix of professional and pertinent content are using social media most effectively. To make social media more effective Twitter, Facebook and other social media should make a new regulations and individuals should be more careful on what they believe and what they decide to obtain. It would be valuable to further explore how should politician use social media effectively and harmless at the same time and what are the limitations.

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