Biggest Pros And Cons Of Social Media Censorship
Today, when almost every country has chosen the democratic way of social development, there are still countries where authoritarian rule thrives. Authoritarian leaders of different countries must continuously work to prevent various kinds of social unrest, including protests and riots. One of their main tools in this effort is social media censorship.
Why social media censorship? It’s simple. In the digital age, most social events have their beginnings in the internet space since almost everyone has access to it. And there, in addition to official sources of information, there is a high level of independent media that covers events from a different angle, which may not be favorable to the government.
In addition, using the internet anyone can prepare and coordinate a protest action or simply share their personal views about what is happening in the country right now.
The most authoritarian countries, such as China have imposed complete censorship on internet access. Many popular social networks and websites do not work in the country, as they publish materials that can damage the thriving Chinese Communist Party rule.
But what is the issue with internet censorship? For one thing, today there are many ways to avoid censorship. Such methods help ordinary users circumvent legal restrictions to view any content they want.
Moreover, internet censorship is expensive. If the state blocks access to the global networks, then they normally must offer alternative social networks and web resources, which require time and money to create.
Nevertheless, there are strong supporters of internet censorship who believe that any state can be destabilized by internal or external forces without it.
So, if there are two points of view – for and against – we suggest you consider this topic in detail and analyze the pros and cons of social media regulation.
Advantages of Social media censorship
1. Control unwanted content
The global network contains tons of material that can be considered harmful. This includes violent and pornographic material, material that incites hatred of various groups, and confidential or classified documents – anything that can somehow affects the security of the state or the social conditions of the people. However, it is worth taking into account that censorship, in these cases, should be carried out only on certain sites and resources that present a risk, and not on everything that comes to hand. Before the state bans a particular resource, it should conduct an investigation that will confirm the danger of publishing the specific materials.
2. Control ads
Thanks to censorship, a state can control all the published ads on the internet. After all, in addition to really necessary or desirable things, the internet often advertises fake, dangerous or defective goods or services that can harm the internet audience.
3. Provide a high level of Internet security
One way or another, censorship helps to ensure a better security level for both individuals and the state. In practice, there have been cases when independent social media prematurely reported on what happened in a country, such as terrorist attacks or emergencies. However, the published information was not reliable, as it was not properly verified. For this reason, independent media are often accused of provoking panic and unrest in society.
4. Influence on public opinion
Today, social media is one of the main builders of public opinion. It can spread information that improves the lives of citizens or, on the contrary, it can remind citizens of various failures by the state to fulfill its promises and build prosperity for the people.
5. Check all published facts
Censorship can serve as a way to provide verification of facts that the media presents. Without censorship, verification will often be skipped or not done to the proper level.
Disadvantages of Social media censorship
1. Restrict to the freedom of speech
Social media censorship restricts the freedom of speech of every citizen. It controls the sites you can visit and the content you can view, prohibiting access to undesirable materials. This deprives citizens of both the right to choose their information sources and the right to express any type of information they choose.
2. Prohibit independent media
Strict censorship absolutely precludes the existence of independent media in the state. This deprives citizens to receive different points of view on the issues and form an independent opinion. All news is presented in a favorable light for the state.
3. Control the social media
By introducing censorship, the government exercises full control over the media of a particular state. So, the state has the right to dictate which news can be broadcast and which can not. Many occurring events are prohibited from publishing. Their coverage can lead to the destabilization of the state and protests inside the country.
4. Isolate society and create indifference
Strict censorship reduces the level of public awareness and engagement. This can lead to an increase in prejudice and put public and cultural values at risk. The level of religious and cultural intolerance may increase dramatically. At the same time, indifference may increase in society as people feel disconnected and powerless. Politicians can spread particular ideologies, and they may also promote only certain brands or companies, denying people any choice.
5. Negatively affect the economy
Social media censorship on different types of content restricts certain companies that might otherwise flourish on specific media platforms. Thus, the companies’ revenue is limited, or they may not do business in the country at all. If we take into account the number of companies that may be affected in this way, it is not difficult to guess how much the country’s entire economy will suffer.
Obvious verdict on media censorship pros and cons
No doubt, the issue of social media censorship has both pros and cons. Therefore, it is impossible to say that censorship is bad or good. However, the most important thing is how the majority of citizens of a particular country feel about this issue.
We all want to have reliable protection from false information, to stay secure on the net, and to protect our children from harmful content. But we can do it by ourselves. It is not necessary to prohibit visits to specific media platforms or sites at the state level. Each person can decide which website to visit, which news to read, and which privacy tools to use to surf the net.
In the 21st century, all forms of obtaining information should be available and allowed to citizens. And to protect our children, it is better to use internal blockers of certain sites that will restrict access to undesirable content.
This is democracy in action!