Social Media and Democracy: Navigating Political Beliefs and Participation in the Digital Age - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-12-31
Social Media and Democracy: Navigating Political Beliefs and Participation in the Digital Age - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Political science Social media
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 935 words
8 min read

Political participation is a vital aspect of democracy that has been under study for a long time. A key part of democracy is having citizens go out and vote. However, a look at the voter turnout over the years has seen a decrease in the number of citizens who vote. Various factors influence political participation, i.e., race, age, and education among others (Smith). However, technology joins the list with the new forms of technology, i.e., social media, providing an opportunity for citizens to make their own decisions concerning politics and democracy. There is, therefore, a considerable concern regarding the role of social media, i.e., Twitter and Facebook, in promoting the misconceptions that come in during political campaigns (Garrett). The technologies are intensively used and provide a lot of information that flows across the democratic and republican divides of the political arena.

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According to Anderson, majorities of both democrats and republicans believe that social media and digital technology companies hold too much power. However, this view is highly likely to be expressed by Republicans. Approximately eight in every ten Republicans, and even Republican-learning independents (82%) believe that companies have too much power that influences politics, compared to Democrats and democrat learners’ 63% (Anderson). On the other hand, the Democrats are more likely to say that these companies have the required amount of power to influence politics. A partisan difference survey of tech companies in 2018 found that the Republicans were more likely to believe that social media platforms censor political viewpoints compared to Democrats (Anderson).

The ideological differences between the parties also contribute significantly to such thoughts. A new survey found that approximately nine in ten conservative Republicans, i.e., 89%, believe the tech companies have too much power. The liberal democrats moreover, somewhat believe that social media brought by tech companies have less power on the political divides, i.e., 68%. With ideology as a factor of concern, approximately half of the liberal democrats and conservative republicans believe more regulation should be put in place to control the influence of social media on the political space. However, while the share of Republicans who believe that social media platforms and companies should face more regulation increased from 42% to 53%, the share of liberal Democrats supporting the same idea fell from 65% to 52% (Anderson). The conservative Republicans are, therefore, the only ideological group that prefers the increased regulation.

According to Duggan and Smith, most social media users express resignation rather than excitement about the volumes of political content present in their social media feeds. This feeling of resignation is bipartisan, with the Democrats (38%) having an identical share with the Republicans (37%). Social media platforms also contribute to stress among people of either political divides, with approximately an equal percentage of Republicans (58%) and Democrats (60%) finding it stressful to talk politics on social media with people who disagree with them politically (Duggan & Smith). They also have less in common than they thought when they discussed political ideations via social media. This aspect is common and equally distributed with both Republicans and Democrats recording 64% (Duggan & Smith). The survey by the Pew Research Center, therefore, finds political arguments and discussions via social media to be stressful to many people in ways that can not be compared to in-person arguments. Both Republican and Democratic social media users are equally likely to find it frustrating and stressful to talk about politics and their political ideations with people who disagree with them on these platforms.

The effect of social media on politics can, therefore, be contingent on at least two important factors. First, is the possibility that is anticipated with candidate falsehoods, with the effect that social media depends on the party affiliation of the user (Garrett). Second is the different practices and capabilities that are associated with various social media platforms. As a result, the effect of the technology used may be dependent on the platform (Garrett). The evidence that social media plays a significant role in shaping the political beliefs of Americans is important. However, the idea that social media is not a major driver of political misperceptions is in contrast with various popular media accounts. The development of digital media technologies and the information fragmentation that comes with it facilitates the spread of fake news and misinformation (Zuniaga & Chen). They also provide a platform for mobilization of political behavior and enhance information divide and political polarization.


To conclude, digital media plays a significant role in the establishment and development of democracy. They form an integral part of an individual citizen’s political life with a growing number of people across the globe using them for information and technology. Social media has transformed how Americans get political news, and the technologies have become a vital conduit over which misinformation is spread. However, despite the prevalence of falsehoods present in these networks, their influence on the beliefs of citizens is relatively small.

Works Cited

Anderson, Monica. Most Americans say social media companies have too much power, influence in politics. Pew research Center, 2020.

Duggan Maeve, & Smith Aaron. The tone of social media discussions around politics., 2016.

Garrett, Kelly. Social media’s contribution to political misperceptions in U.S. presidential elections. Plos One, 2019.

Smith, Aaron et al. Publics think technology impacts the political environment in both positive and negative ways. Pew Research Center, 2019.

Zuniaga, Homero, & Chen Hsuan-Ting. Digital media and politics: Effects of the great information and communication divides., 2019.

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Social Media and Democracy: Navigating Political Beliefs and Participation in the Digital Age - Essay Sample. (2023, Dec 31). Retrieved from

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