The Politics of Social Media

During my DH6004 class this week, we watched a film called The Internet’s Own Boy, a documentary about one of the founders of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, who sadly died in 2013 aged just 26. Aside from helping to create Reddit, Swartz became a spokesperson for internet users during campaigns to bring in censorship laws like SOPA which ‘is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s proposed bill that aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content’ (SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012).   He was also one of the founders of demandprogress.org which is a project that aims to ‘seek to protect the democratic character of the internet — and wield it to make government accountable and contest concentrated corporate power’ (About Demand Progress – Demand Progress). The conversation about government interference of the internet has been a long one. In the second year of my degree , I wrote about how Twitter was being used as a campaign tool in modern political campaigns.

In more recent years, the Cambridge Analytica scandal had rocked the social media world, as well as the real world.  It was revealed by one whistle-blower that over 50 million user’s data had been mined in order to compile information on potential voters during the American Presidential Election and the Brexit referendum (Cadwalladr and Graham-Harrison). It just goes to show how social media has evolved over the years and how things need to change in order to get back to how sites like Facebook were previously (Mozur et al.).

References

Aaron Swartz. http://www.aaronsw.com/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

About Demand Progress – Demand Progress. https://demandprogress.org/about/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

admin. ‘Critical Review of Twitter as a Communication Tool.’ Kayleigh Falvey, 26 Oct. 2017, http://kayleighfalvey.com/digital-humanities/write-a-critical-review-of-twitter-as-a-platform-you-may-consider-how-twitter-works-as-a-research-tool-andor-as-a-pedagogical-tool-andor-as-a-communication-tool/.

Cadwalladr, Carole, and Emma Graham-Harrison. ‘Revealed: 50 Million Facebook Profiles Harvested for Cambridge Analytica in Major Data Breach’. The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2018. www.theguardian.com, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election.

Mozur, Paul, et al. ‘Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web’. The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2017. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/technology/facebook-government-regulations.html.

SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012. https://money.cnn.com/2012/01/17/technology/sopa_explained/index.htm#targetText=SOPA%20is%20an%20acronym%20for,the%20trading%20of%20pirated%20content. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.