If you are under the impression that social media is simply a useful, harmless tool which allows individuals around the world to stay in contact with their friends and family members, James Scott ICIT believes you should think again.

While most individuals turn to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram for communication and entertainment purposes, social media is also used as a powerful tool by businesses and organizations who are looking for an effective platform to influence a captured audience. In order to discover how social media has been hijacked by large corporations and organizations, simply continue reading!

How Social Media is Able to Shape Public Opinion:

  1. Businesses and organizations can pay influential individuals to promote their business or cause

As an example, in national elections each major party may try to rally support from popular individuals who have large fan bases. With each political party encouraging their famous fans to post messages of support for their party on their social media accounts.

In much the same way, businesses may also pay social media influencers such as bloggers and vloggers, to promote their goods and services to their adoring fans.

  1. Individuals are encouraged to share political or commercial posts with their followers

One way in which businesses and organizations strive to get their social media messages seen by as many individuals as possible is to encourage their own followers to share their posts with their entire network of followers.

  1. Social media can spread news like wildfire

These days, most individuals stay up to date with current affairs by reading news articles which come up on their Facebook feeds or by looking at Twitter’s trending tweets, instead of going to a newspaper, listening to the radio or watching an evening news broadcast.

However, so many news articles which pop up on popular social media sites such as Facebook are slanted to project a version of a story, which may not be accurate, in order to try and garner attention.

Unfortunately, a large portion of internet users will blindly believe any news which they see pop up on their Facebook newsfeed or trend on Twitter. Despite the fact, that much of the news on said sites is completely fake and fabricated, in the hopes that it will go viral.

  1. Social media influences individuals to look to their social network in order to form an opinion

One of the dangers of social media is that is encourages users to become reliant on the opinions and approvals of their social network. So instead of having free thought and coming up with their own viewpoints, many individuals will simply believe whatever the popular opinion to have is, without having the information necessary in order to make a well informed, individual decision.

In short, social media is a powerful tool which is able to influence individuals beliefs and choices, without users even being aware that their opinions, ideals and beliefs are being influenced by large organizations and businesses. Who may not have individuals best interests at heart and who may be influencing the general public for their own interests.