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Latest study finds a spiral of silence on social media networking

Government agent from a central hub monitors all digital and social media conversations illustration.
Government agent from a central hub monitors all digital and social media conversations illustration.
Security Affairs

Social media today is one of the most popular communications platforms and has millions of users interacting on a regular basis. In spite of the novelty from this technology it is not as open to conversation as it seems when it pertains to a public issue. The latest study published on Tuesday by the Pew Research Internet Project examined the perceptions by Americans in light of the revelations made by Edward Snowden on government surveillance.

The goal of the survey was to understand the opinions from people. This includes what their position or willingness to discuss the government surveillance program and efforts by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Other previous surveys by the Pew Research Center showed that for this important issue it profoundly divided the American public. In other words, in one separate Pew survey 44 percent said the release of classified information harms the public interest while the other 49 percent said it serves the interest of the public.

“Overall, the findings indicate that in the Snowden case, social media did not provide new forums for those who might otherwise remain silent to express their opinions and debate issues. Further, if people thought their friends and followers in social media disagreed with them, they were less likely to say they would state their views on the Snowden-NSA story online and in other contexts, such as gatherings of friends, neighbors, or co-workers,” according to the survey.

People upon learning that their phone conversations and online activities have been recorded it prompted a tendency to be even more cautious. The online companies or services from which they rely on for communications and business happens to be corroborating information without consent.

Some eye opening findings included some noteworthy insights. First, people were less willing to discuss the Snowden-NSA story in social media than in person. Second, social media did not provide an alternative discussion platform, and in personal or online settings people were more willing to share their views if they had people to agree with.

Twitter and Facebook remain as two of the most influential social networks. In spite of the differences that exist between both social channels it would come as a surprise that people will not speak their mind to freely if they do not have like minded followers.

It is without a doubt the detailed information from these documents released brought into question the legitimacy and justification for doing it. According to a Mashable report, the extent of the reach and let alone the spying is overwhelming.

The findings were the result of a nationally representative survey of 1,801 American adults ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center and fielded by the Princeton research Associates International between the dates from Aug. 7 to Sept. 16, 2013.

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