Social media a threat to democracy: Facebook

Image used purely for representational purpose. Photograph:( WION )

WION Web Team Delhi, India Jan 23, 2018, 02.46 AM (IST)

Facebook's civic engagement chief Samidh Chakrabarti recently identified social media as a 'potential threat'. 

In a blog post, Chakrabarti noted that he was "not blind to the damage that the internet can do to even a well-functioning democracy."

He spoke about Facebook's inability to recognise and tackle issues related to eminent personalities abusing the social media platform previously. 

"We're working diligently to neutralize these risks now," he noted. 

"We're as determined as ever to fight the negative influences and ensure that our platform is unquestionably a source for democratic good," said Katie Harbath, Facebook's head of global politics and government outreach, in an accompanying statement.

"This was a new kind of threat that we couldn't easily predict, but we should have done better. Now we're making up for lost time," Chakrabarti noted on instances where social media platforms were used to spread fake news or events where Facebook posts were created against events like the Brexit, US Presidential elections 2017, et cetera. 

"It's abhorrent to us that a nation-state used our platform to wage a cyberwar intended to divide society," Chakrabarti said noting instances where over 80,000 Russian posts reached to around 126 million people in the US over a couple of years.

"We don't want to be the arbiters of truth, nor do we imagine this is a role the world would want for us," Chakrabarti noted saying that Facebook's trustworthiness should purely be determined by its users.

(With inputs from AFP)