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THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN UNCONTROLLED AND ACCESSIBLE CHANNEL OF INFORMATION

Demush Bajrami, Taxhedin Selimi, Riat Abduramani

Abstract


With the recent development of the technology and the rise of the number of people that have access to Internet, the traditional channels of information were certainly perturbed. Nowadays, the electronic media have become inevitable as an information medium. But, the appearance of social networks also changed the directions in which information was communicated. Essentially, the consumer has become a potential producer of information and by his activity can influence the way how this information is distributed. This drastic change­ poses a number of opportunities for the development of free speech and democracy in general, but also poses very big challenges on how to prevent abuses.

In this article, we analyze certain concrete events where social media has a central role in impacting the public opinion. Social networks, such as Facebook, allow publishing various events which are then distributed through the network. The impact of such events can be clearly seen through the different actions that were originally initiated through social media, and have led to the fall of dictatorships in some Arabic countries. Such an impact has forced many governments to be proactive in the support or rejection of such events, going sometimes beyond realistic measures to stop legitimate actions when it goes against their opinion.

Certainly, it is the articulation of the social needs and interests of people that are expressed in these cases, and such actions can be considered as restrictive toward the liberty of speech. But, we should look at both sides of the medal, since these needs may sometimes surpass this liberty and touch into other human’s rights, and therefore requires government intervention. We can consider as such the recent request of the Ministry of the Interior sent to Facebook administration, for blocking some pages that were at the source of interethnic clashes in the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

In a short time, the social media has become a very important communication medium. It is clear that it will certainly become the main source of information. The ease of publication, and sometimes the relative anonymity these networks may provide, plays a big role in their promotion. But, such presentation of information without editing and supervision, poses new difficulties on its trustworthiness and it the near future will present one of the main challenges in communication sciences.

Keywords: Social media, communication, information, social impact, social needs and interests


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/(aj).v1i1.906

DOI (PDF): http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/(aj).v1i1.906.g1127

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