Social Media Ban?
Should candidates be banned from using social media on Election Day?
Elections BC bans political candidates and parties from using social media on Election Day. The ban applies to posts promoting candidates, but also bans general posts encouraging people to get out and vote, and bans direct messages to family, friends and identified supporters about going to vote.
This ban doesn’t make sense to me for a few reasons:
#1) The ban overlooks the basic design of social media:
Content in social media feeds is, by design, catered to include posts a user wants to see. Social media subscribers only see posts from people and organizations they follow, or people they have approved as a friend. If users don’t want to see posts from candidates, they can stop following or un-friend them.
#2) Social media is a new communication medium:
For a lot of people, social media is the modern day equivalent of receiving a phone call. Banning candidates from using social media – And remember this includes banning private messaging their friends and family to remind them it’s voting day – is the equivalent of telling candidates ten years ago, that they can’t use a telephone on election day.
#3) Social media can counter the influence money has on politics:
Social media can help democratize the conversation around voting. It is less expensive than other means of reaching voters, including phone call outs and other tools used by candidates on Election Day. As long as we restrict candidates from using the most cost effective means of exposing voters to their ideas, we encourage politicians to be bought by large corporate and union donations and restrict the number of electable candidates we have to choose from.
#4) Is one more day going to make a difference?
I know by Election Day, everyone is sick of election advertising and political posts to their social media accounts, but we have been putting up with this bombardment for months. Are voters really so impressionable that one more day of this bombardment is really going to make them do something they don’t want to with their vote? The truth is that some people need a reminder that it is Election Day, and since social media is where a lot of people today connect with their community and receive news, this is where the reminder should be. Remember, all of the posts will be over tomorrow anyways.
*It is important to note that I don’t believe candidates should be allowed to use paid advertising on social media on Election Day.
**It is also important to note that Elections BC just enforces the ban which was legislated by politicians in Victoria, obviously happy with the status quo and lack of opportunity for public discourse.
What do you think?? Join the conversation on Social Media and let us know!!