In this new age of advanced technology and everything online, the Government around the world also seems to has adapted quite well to these trends, but that is the situation which is quite worrisome for every one of us. With the Government harnessing the social media to disseminate false information and their propaganda, it has threatened the peace of our democracy and the privacy of the citizens of the nation.
Online freedom has been rapidly declining in various countries. The Government is relying increasingly on Artificial Intelligence to monitor and censor people online. On the days of elections, gerrymandering campaigns have been conducted on a large scale by them as they spread their propaganda and collect various types of information of the citizens through social media manipulation.
As per the annual report on online freedom released by the Freedom House, a non-profit group indicated they have analyzed that 40 out of 60 countries have evidence of utilizing “advanced social media surveillance programs.”
The report pointed out that online freedom has been heavily declining for ninth consecutive years in many countries where the Government manipulates the use of the Internet and simply cuts it off when they want to control the situation in their favour.
“Many governments are finding that on social media, propaganda works better than censorship,” said Mike Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.
“Authoritarians and populists around the globe are exploiting both human nature and computer algorithms to conquer the ballot box, running roughshod over rules designed to ensure free and fair elections.”
Employing such tactics has been observed mainly in the US as was the case in the elections of 2018. We have seen how such acts have been skewing the political discourse and influencing the voter’s decisions. The Governments also keep checking on any peaceful protests and movements that are all within their rights but still have to be surveillance by the Government, provoking their right to privacy and speech.
Chinese Government has also decided to control the internet and the communication in Hong Kong amid the on-going protests just before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Online freedom has since been declining in 33 out of 65 countries and endangering the peace of democracy. The biggest worry for online freedom has been founded in Sudan and Kazakhstan, followed by Brazil, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe, where online manipulation is reaching out to dangerous levels.
However, improvement has also been seen in 16 countries as reported by Freedom House, where Ethiopia marks the highest rating among the many others.
This upheaval could seriously affect the health of our democracy in the coming years and resilience through this situation might become too difficult for anyone.