I.

Introduction
Every night before we sleep, the last thing we often look at is our social media
profile. Every morning when we wake up, the first thing we look at is not the news but our
social media profile – hungry to devour news of our contacts, while sheltering jealousy and
hatred for other people’s lives, addictively seeking likes and reactions on something clever
we say, and basking in our popularity among our friends. For many, social media has become
a popularity contest, while for others it is a networking and contact-building opportunity. Let
us be very honest, how many times do we put up a show of pretense on social media –
talking of things we pretend to know and expressing our opinions without any research?
Hence, we can infer that this effect makes its way into political campaigning as well. The
effect has been seen to have some very drastic effects in the recent world and the current
dynamics of global and national politics.
The first time these effects were seen to have great impact were with the
introduction of television and the first presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and
Richard Nixon. Personality, Charisma, television interaction, and makeup were the key
contributors to John F. Kennedy’s win. Ever since, political campaigns have used media as a
tool used to sway public opinion.

Thesis Statement
This essay then, examines the role social media has come to play in modern political
campaigning and the believe that the population has become easy to manipulate by modern
technologies. To support this thesis, I present three arguments; one is the control and
jurisdiction of social media, the second is projected personality of political nominees are not
necessarily true, and the third argument is the existence of social media bubbles prevents
adequate circulation of information.

II. Body
1. Control and jurisdiction of social media refers to the highly versatile nature of
such media. This needs to be discussed because much of the information in circulation on
social media is not controlled and hence verifiability and integrity of this information can be
in question. Another problem that comes with is the income model of such social
networking websites – they depend on sponsors and advertisements for their main source
of revenue. Hence it is a given that if an agency is willing to pay to boost their content, then
the population is being manipulated.
a. The above claim is supported by the recent publishing of live videos of
homicides on Facebook. While Facebook administration mitigates these
posts, the posts are still largely public and they do damage public opinion
about websites, countries, and communities. As Emily Dreyfuss puts it while
discussing the murder of an elderly gentleman streamed on Facebook Live,
the system is decentralized consisting of several self-proclaimed reporters and
the damage is already done.
b. The information uploaded on social media is often opinionated views of
the entity sharing or making that content. The general result after police
shootings and unfair cases has been of fear and hatred, which is accelerated
and spread to others through videos uploaded on social media. As is an
accepted phenomenon by most social media agencies (Twitter, Facebook),
negative content spreads faster than positive content and hence can cloud
judgements of people for political figures trying to make a difference.
c. Hence, I strongly suggest that political figures, leaders and campaigns on
social media can be highly misrepresented. The independent figures can
spread rumors and incorrect information without use of reason and hence
the positive work of the campaign can be tainted by a single rumor or video
spread by a person of influence or high popularity.
2. Projected Personalities of Political candidates, leaders, or nominees may not
necessarily be true. This is because there is a whole team running the person’s campaign
together and these teams are on the campaign only for winning – thus true knowledge
about the candidate which the public should know is often sidelined.
a. The 2012 Obama campaign alum Domonique James, and social media
director Laura Olin have shared that the campaigns are about reachability to
different voters on the social media. The campaign decides together about
what information about the leader must be shared and what information
stays hidden. This means that there is misrepresentation of information and
data. Furthermore, it is unfair to the candidates true to themselves in their
speeches and social media posts.
b. Policies which come to be adopted by these campaigns are those of
“mobilizing current supporters” and those who “evangelize on behalf of a
campaign”. This is use of immoral tactics in swaying public opinion and
exploiting the members of the public.
3. Existence of Social Media Bubbles prevents adequate circulation of information towards
the general population. Modern algorithms make profiles of users and show them the content that
they prefer seeing instead of a more-rounded content exposure. This has created a virtual bubble
around each user who only interacts with and sees content that they prefer to see and that is
popular between them and their friends.
a. Tech Crunch reports that each social media platform is making more revenue and
hence the content that gets boosted and is seen by different people is as much as
the boosting agency pays (Facebook made $8.03B in revenue in previous quarter).
This means that people largely see what advertisers pay for them to see. Noam
Chomsky, a very influential academic on the theory of political scenarios sees how
the world is controlled by advertisers and mass media.
b. The modern predictive algorithms used by each social media prefer content liked
by others and prosper the “flock behavior” as proposed by social analysts and
theorizers. Hirschorn talks about the Web 2.0 bubble being very real – people very
rarely get to see information and content available all over. If you would like a
glimpse of what the original internet was meant for look at The Onion Routing
Network.
III. Conclusion
Political campaigning is a difficult task. Campaigns should be careful about not making up
false information about the candidate to convert voters, but should also be careful about being too
true. However, in an intelligent society, the task of social media is to create a community of well-
informed voters who get cited, complete information on each different political campaign and who
they are funded by. There are communities on Reddit which do undertake such tasks, but mass social
media has failed and is continuing to fail in spreading correct information beneficial for the country.
Instead, the information is based on popularity ratings, advertiser ratings, and on the general
sentiment of the community. Hence we have proven that social media is having a detrimental effect
on political campaigns.