Free «International Relations» Essay Paper
Currently, the world is becoming fully dependent on the use of various Internet services. Internet links different devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, by sharing coded information. The Web is used to transfer the data to a number of people in a fast, reliable and safe way. In 2009 it has been estimated that more than 60 % of the USA population use Internet and, on the average, spend there more than 100 minutes weekly (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Even the governments rely on the Internet to conduct their activities in a fast and convenient way. The most affected area is the mass and social media that include such platforms as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Currently, the social media are the source of information, communication site and even the stage for population political activity.
Internet has enabled globalization passing information easily through mass news, online meetings, social network services, document editing, etc. In addition, the Internet can be useful and convenient as it allows collecting the data and sharing it at any time with the help of handy devices. It encourages young people to interact socially and develop their communicative skills participating meetings and conferences online, having various sources of information to gain knowledge (Crossley, 2008). Additionally, network has an advantage in saving both money and time: information is transferred in just a few seconds with one click to another continent. Business and government are both relaying on the Internet to transact their daily work. For instance, most companies make sales online by either advertising or conducting the transactions.
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Taking into account the increasing use of social media among the youth the governments are employing these sites to gather information and pass the messages in it. Social media may be used to bring peace or act as a political platform to lobby someone’s interest or inflame the dispute. Majority of the citizens make sense of the latest innovations to stay informed of the government events. For example, political leaders are keeping social account of electronic statements to communicate to their followers. Besides, they can recognize their political activities in the egg. Typically, the latest revolutionary activities and social movements develop in the social networking as it is a convenient platform to spread the information, consolidate and influence particular problems. The government tries hard to control the information passed through these sites for it may negatively impact the citizens of the affected countries (Faulds, 2009).
The recent development shows a higher increase in the use of social media. It has politically hit large economic giants like China both negatively and positively. University students in Hong Kong protested threatening to paralyze major financial areas (Crossley, 2008). The events of that day were analyzed through different social networks such as Facebook. There was created a page giving online updates of the protest. Its administrators were rapidly updating the events of the day at night. The negative impact of the news they presented had a serious impact on the protesting group. In spite of this, many students were able to raise their views with the help of double edged-sword of the protest.
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Further, China government concerns about the consequences of Internet use made it possible to develop a project called Great Firewall – a censorship network filter. It means that the government of the country is able to control the information passed through the media by cutting down Internet services. The authorities took further step by banning sharing of pictures through the US application named Instagram. The residents of Hong Kong and Beijing have been noted downloading a lot of social applications to pass the information and warn the rest of the world about the development of protest actions on the streets of the cities.
Iran is another country that was hit by the impacts of the social media especially during the elections. The residents remonstrated about the winning of Mohsen Rezaee and opposed the arrest of protesters by police that they even accused of sexual harassment. Iranian government banned the use of mobile phone network and blocked social sites. The movement formed was called Twitter Revolution for the protestors used Twitter and other social media to transmit information among their group. There were recorded videos of killings that happened during the revolt that spread wildly throughout the Internet after being uploaded in Facebook and YouTube. The Iranian authorities claimed that the western media used unfair information coverage to support the protests and shatter the confidence in government of the day.
Furthermore, the recent events in the Arab spring have geared democratic movements. According to Lisa Anderson, different social networks such as Skype are being used as a tool by governments to suppress protests or empowering the representatives of particular areas, race or religion (Anderson, 2011). She also pointed out that a number of dictator leaders use social media to pin down the upcoming political powers. In such countries as Syria, the governments have imposed restriction on the Internet use, yet they employ it in tracking the sensitive and private information in their country. However, China authorities have strongly advised their citizens to use only local social sites instead of global ones which are hard to control and, hence, avoid political heat and instability. Nevertheless, at the Carnegie Council on Arab Uprisings, Andersen stated that the Internet used as means of democratic suppression was an overstatement (AUC, 2011, April 6).