Aparicio said that, when it comes to politics, social networks will continue to play an important role in the dissemination of information. Another recent study from the Pew Research Center shows that people who use social networks to keep up to date on current events tend to pay less attention to news and politics and are less knowledgeable about them. Social media and Internet platforms have facilitated the dissemination of political information that counteracts the tactics of the main media, which are usually centralized and top-down, and include high barriers to entry. The results show that 57% of people who use social networks to get news had little political knowledge and only 17% had high political knowledge.
The use of social media in politics refers to the use of online social media platforms in political processes and activities. Public opinions on the positive and negative effects of social media vary widely depending on political affiliation and ideology. The media and social networks often publish stories about news that is controversial and popular and that will ultimately generate more traffic. Nearly one-fifth of Americans use social media, and two-thirds of those Americans are young people between 18 and 29 years old.
Martínez says that he already sees that social networks affect younger generations through education and the dissemination of politics. However, the use of social networks affects political opinions and the participation of young users in other ways, such as exposing users to certain points of view or determining their understanding of current events. Social media has made it much easier for politicians and their campaigns to connect directly with the public, Freeder said. BYU public relations professor Pamela Brubaker said that social media users sometimes only interact with content that reflects their own points of view, causing apps to suggest other similar content.
Political ads, for example, that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate, or to take a position on a particular issue, have often been posted on social media. Social networks can provide many people with a sense of anonymity that allows them to get away with such aggressive acts. The study found that 48% of young adults aged 18 to 29 fall into this category and get their news mainly from social networks. Responses from people who focused on hate, harassment, conflict or extremism often mention the concern that social networks contribute to a lack of courtesy on the Internet linked to anonymity, to the spread of ideas or conspiracies full of hate, or to inciting violence.