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27 Feb 2019  (452 Views) 
Ministry of Comm and Information

Promote democracy through the social media
I saw an article in the Economist that describe the new govt in Cuba using social media actively. The article said that this is a good step but it is better to have democracy.

I have this perspective.

It is a good step to have active communication through social media. It allows the people to share information and to hold the govt accountable. It also improves transparency and reduces corruption.

However, there is a negative side to social media. It can also be manipulated with "fake news" or "disinformation". People with money and resources could pay other people to use the social media for disinformation.

What can be done to promote the good use of social media and to prevent the abuse?

The first step must be to register an authenticated account. We should stop the use of unauthenticated accounts. When a person speaks in public, he has to use his real identity. We should also expect the same standard with the social media.

There are people with a genuine grievance that needs to be aired out. He does not wish to reveal his identity. For example - a whistle blower.

We have to allow the people with genuine grievances or valuable information to reveal them. This can be done by providing a channel where they can provide the information and still keep their identity secret.

If there is an avenue for genuine grievances to be provided without fear of retribution, the social media should be used to air opinion by authenticated people who should use their real identity. It will stop the abuse of social media to spread lies and misinformation.

The spreading of misinformation is not only done by anti-establishment people. The establishment in many countries also engage in this activity. It is sometimes described as "propaganda".

A good way to promote democracy is to allow information to be shared in a responsible manner. It will improve transparency and accountability.

I like to see an avenue for people to register and authenticate a real identity and to give their views. I see the steps taken in Cuba to be a helpful step.

Tan Kin Lian


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