NewsLocalSocial media change political communication, Greek expert says

Social media change political communication, Greek expert says

The days when candidates ran from door to door or held numerous rallies in towns and villages seem very far away. No one thinks of doing that anymore, when thanks to the internet and mainly thanks to social media, they have the opportunity to reach a much larger audience with the greatest ease and in a split second. The rules of political communication have changed and the focus is very much on social networks.

The consequences of the shift from traditional media to social networks are multifaceted. They affect not only the conduct of an election campaign but politics in general, Sophia Kaitatzi-Whitlock, Professor of Political Communication and Political Science at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, said in an interview with Phileleftheros.

Citizens have gained access to more information on the one hand, while the internet has given them unprecedented power by providing them with the possibility of freedom of expression and participation on a large scale. On the other hand, however, one cannot stand by the fact that despite the positive aspects of the internet, it is not a democratic panacea. On the contrary, it has opened the Aeolian can of worms, showing that today users are treated more or less as products of social networks for exploitation and resale.

At the same time, the role of misinformation and fake news is equally negative. “Fake news focuses on the thymic, causing paranoia by acting despicably or intimidatingly. They cloud thinking, shake beliefs and distort ideologies, causing confusion. They dismantle rational, critical contemplation and constructive attitudes and distort political beliefs, reinforcing negative stereotypes of suspicion,” the Greek expert explained. This is why it is imperative that societies undertake a radical and universal regulation of the internet, starting with the abolition of the anonymity clause, which has become a hiding place for criminals.

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