Social media is radically changing all that we know, from communication, marketing, even warfare. Today it’s all being done through social media. In this post I will take a look at the role social media in warfare in the 21st century.
Let’s go back to 2010-2011 in what we all know as the Arab spring. During this short time period we saw one leader after another toppled over in the Middle Eastern Arab world. Through Facebook and Twitter the citizens of those countries were able to organize and coordinate large crowds containing thousands of people to protest against the unjust acts of their government. Through social media people were able to express their thoughts and complaints and their desire for change (freedom, democracy). Without the tool of social media, such actions would most surely result in death. But through slacktivism via social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, thousands of people got the courage to make their desires known to the world. But could social media be used more menacingly to cause disruption of governments by other political powers. I can already foresee it happening.
The 2009 elections in Iran saw Iranians taking to Twitter in protest against the government. Based on data analyzed from Twitter during this period, we saw that many of those who were taking to Twitter in Tehran were not even located in Iran (Gaffney, 2010). Many individuals simply changed their profile information to Iran’s and were protesting as if from within Iran. Maybe they were doing so to give courage to those within Iran who were protesting. But can this be abused? What if an enemy through social media organizes and coordinates the people of a country to rise up against their government? All they need is an incident with the country and a change of IP or location to incite the citizens to spark off a protest. I am just thinking of the evil possibilities afforded through social media to incite war. Need I saw more. It is indeed something to think about.
Gaffney, D. (2010). # iranElection: quantifying online activism.