The technological advancement allowed individuals to contact and share information in the online space called “social media platforms” nowadays. There are various social media platforms in the online space that may influence one’s values and beliefs so it is crucial for these companies to apart democratic factors. It is known that millennials most prefer to read news articles and sources off of social media platforms rather than having to read to newspapers or listen to the radio. The statistics show that 72% of the public in United States uses some type of media according to the Pew Research Center, so it is crucial for social media platforms to adapt the terms and conditions to make it democratic (“Demographics of Social Media Users”, 2020). I believe that there are certain features and options that would make a certain social media platform democratic in general, however, there are various issues when it comes to using social media platform as a major news source.
Instagram is a social media platform which adapted various features such as sharing news feed, posting photos, uploading videos, and leaving a comment; any individual with an Instagram account is going to be able to access other people’s feeds and news. Moreover, users are going to be able to share a post that they are interested in, as well they can tag someone to share the posts that they have viewed. This are some of the features that enhance democratic values, since it allows individuals to post their personal thoughts and share their values without any limitations. This results in having various events in the world to be shared between various members of the community, which allows different perspectives to be shared among a specific event, where opinions and thoughts can be shared as well. Among these events, there may be important message or experience that may stood out, which may raise awareness in regards to a certain outcome of an event.
Personal experiences or video footage may be shared in a recent “news feeds” to review or discuss in regards to a certain global topic, which enhances democratic values. Instagram ultimately adapted a “story” feature; when you click on to major media outlet’s profile picture, it will run a segment of short assortment of pictures and videos relaying most recent information and content posted up on that page (Bernard, 2019). It is a convenient feature to view major news through trustable media outlets including Global News, CNN, and CBC posts through news feeds feature. This raises awareness of the public’s viewpoints towards some of the major events that are occurring and ultimately allow individuals share thoughts on a specific news feed, which is known has “freedom of speech”, one of the most important aspects of Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
There are several issues that may follow up when an individual decides to use Instagram as a major media source. Anyone in social media is able to act as a reporter, that might lack with credibility of the news source (Bishop, 2020). It increases concerns since readers would have to go through a fact-check to prevent false news to be spread selecting the reporting feature (Bishop, 2020). Also, social media platform, including Instagram tilts influence towards those with the large followers such as social media influencers, celebrities, and political figures regardless of their credentials (Bishop, 2020).
Instagram used some of the methods to prevent the bypasses by implementing a feature that will add “false information” labels to secure posts that tend to spread fake information (Bell, 2019). Instagram will also warn users who attempt to share a post that has previously been debunked. Before the post goes live, they’ll see a notice that fact checkers say it contains false information, with a link to more information (Bell, 2019). They can still opt to share the post with their followers, but it will appear with the “false information label” (Bell, 2019).
Instagram is overall a social media platform that prioritizes democrat values while operating it through providing various features and options that allows individuals around the globe to share information. Since it allows individuals to receive real time information from various perspectives, this is the major aspect that allows democratic space for everyone to enjoy and share ideas or thoughts. However, there are several weaknesses that it contains when it comes to acting as a major news source media outlet; credibility and trustworthiness of a particular news or updates can be an issue, since there is no actual “fact-checking” system that filters fake news media in Instagram.
Bell, K. (2019). Instagram adds ‘false information’ labels to prevent fake news from going viral. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/article/instagram-false-information-labels/
Bernard, M. (2019). Can Instagram be used for news? Retrieved from https://medium.com/ social-media-as-news-cod/can-instagram-be-used-for-news-9a45adf087ca
Bishop, K. (2020). Why are millennials and Gen Z turning to Instagram as a news source? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jul/27/instagram-news- source-social-media
Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States. (2020. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/