As with everything, there are pros and cons to social media.
It has changed the dynamics of information – from how it is disseminated to how it is shaped and consumed.
Social media also allows citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression and enables others to challenge powerful voices.
But social media also has a dark side. It has enabled and emboldened those who wish to undermine democracy, those who wish to spread fear and anxiety. Around the world, we have seen how some have used social media to push misinformation and disinformation, incite violence and spread hate during an election period.
Its increasing role in political campaigns over the years has shown the impact social media has on electoral processes and election campaigns. Social media has the potential to deepen participatory democracy and help ensure free and fair elections.
But what do we need to do to ensure it does that, and how do we combat those who seek to use it to undermine democracy and elections?
Join News24's political editor Qaanitah Hunter on Thursday at 15:30 as she unpacks the role of social media during elections.
She will be joined by the Electoral Commission of South Africa's Dr Nomsa Masuku and PD Dr Jan-Hinrik Schmidt, a Senior Postdoc Digital Interactive Media and Political Communication Researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research. Nomshado Lubisi, head of communications at Media Monitoring Africa, will also take part in the discussion.
With both Germany and South Africa heading to the polls, the webinar will allow for the sharing of international and local perspectives on the key issues around social media and elections.
You can register for the event at www.socialmediaandelections.splashthat.com. The event, which is hosted by Media Monitoring Africa, Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy, will also be streamed live on News24.
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