How to fill people with enthusiasm for political topics via social media (discussion hosted by KAS, Singapore)
Truth vs. visibility?
We are now entering the second phase of social media, with a general phobia in many governments in Asia towards counter-revolutions. F.i. in the Hong Kong Umbrella revolution case, many protesteres used now Firechat as police switched off the mobile networks. In the West there was the worry that the liberal are dominating the social media. However, with view to dominating views, social media rather promotes echo chambers and oxygen might be provided to political movements that thrive on anger etc. These network effects are only going to be a better problem in the future. There is the fake news phenomenon plus people taking on extreme or simplified views: the information that gets the most views is not necessarily the most truthful. However, social media literacy is also changing, and people might do more fact-checking.
The discussion also revolved around the rise of Facebook and its power regarding the definition of truth and manipulation. Trust filters are now established within our friends (reputation networks). Also it was discusses how much censorship was done in social media by the government. India, for instance, has one of the highest rates of requesting Facebook for user data. Regarding the prediction of elections via social media data, so far many cases might have been luck, also due to problems of representativeness.