Do Facebook and Twitter help spread Democracy and Human Rights?

In politics, society, sociology on May 12, 2012 at 21:10


Do Facebook and Twitter help spread Democracy and Human Rights? – Zygmunt Bauman – Social Europe Journal

We live in a confessional society, promoting public self-exposure to the rank of the prime and easiest available, as well as arguably most potent and the sole truly proficient, proof of social existence. Millions of Facebook users vie with each other to disclose and put on public record the most intimate and otherwise inaccessible aspects of their identity, social connections, thoughts, feelings and activities. Social websites are fields of a voluntary, do-it-yourself form of surveillance, beating hands down (both volume-wise and expenditure-wise) the specialist agencies manned by professionals of spying and detection. A true windfall, a genuinely pennies-from-heaven-style, for every dictator and his secret services – and a superb complement to the numerous “banoptical” institutions of democratic society concerned with preventing the unwanted and undeserving (that is all those who behave or are likely to behave comme il n’est faut pas) from being mistakenly admitted or worming themselves surreptitiously into our decent self-selected democratic company. One of The Net Delusion chapters is titled “Why the KGB wants you to join Facebook”.

It is an old, very old story told all over again: one can use axes to hew wood or to cut heads. The choice does not belong to axes but to those who hold them. Whatever the holders’ choices, the axes won’t mind. And however sharp the edges which it may be currently cutting, technology would not “advance democracy and human rights” for (and instead of) you.

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