For knowing Role of Social Media in democracy we first must know what is social media and what is democracy.
Social Media is platform on internet where people are able to express their views without fear.
Democracy means a system of rule by the people, for the people and of the people. Democracy means a rule in which there is more power to peoples and by expressing their views freely and being able to express it freely it empowers democracy however there are certain disadvantages of it too, I will put both here in a chronological approach.
Advantages of social media in democracy
It fills the communication gap between authorities and public as we are going through covid-19 era we can see that our govt. is using social media to create awareness campaigns , just imagine for a second that if it was not social media how difficult it would have been to circulate official information regarding it and vaccination drive would not have been so smooth, but thanks to twitter with its blue tick system we are able to know which person is official representative and we are able to consider information as an official stand.
Social media increases the participation of people in a system as people are able to voice their opinions in overall perspective.
it supports the democratic and federal structure also it helps to held the authorities accountable for their actions as it helps to mount public pressure on them and makes it hard for them to hide the truth by empowering people with right to express their opinions.
Disadvantages of social media in democracy
Social media have certain disadvantages too like selling data to political parties and helping political parties in running elections recent example of data theft is Cambridge analytica scam where Facebook sold its data to political parties for running election campaign ads targeting and exploiting user’s information that is ethically wrong.
Also it wastes time of young teenagers and contributes in wasting productive hours of a country,
by promoting video games such as Pubg, and it contributes in increasing hatred between different communities
it contributes in cyber bullying , many people create fake social media handles and exploit
the social media through their fake identity.
Incidents of fake news are also on rise as fake news spreads like a fire and by the time 100 people know the truth fake news already travels over a thousand households, as sharing is very easy on social media, therefore fake news travels very fast, and helps in widening the social fault lines between the different ethnic and religious groups which is not good for a democracy.
Recent CAA NRC riots in Delhi is a classic example of how social media contributes in rioting, large religious Facebook group were instigating and invoking the common public leading to such devastation , another recent example is of Capitol Hill siege where then American president Donald Trump was accused of invoking the republican cadre through his official social media handle and due to which his handles were blocked for more than 48 hours on twitter and Facebook.
In conclusion for role of social media in democracy I would say it has both advantages and disadvantages and we should use it wisely.
Regarding some solution i would say that if social media handles make verification through a national identity card necessary it would solve many of the problems like fake identity scam, and for rioting part facebook can make a rule of not allowing groups based on religions and should monitor groups based on political parties by developing a separate algorithms.
Also we should create awareness and Proofread things before forwarding it among the masses and we should aware them about all these things and we should also encourage people to put minimal personal information on social media and to use less social media and we should try to use only for productive purposes.
and should create pressure on social media giants cause in the end we can not leave anyone unaccountable.