Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Tanja Džido, Digital Brand Strategist & Consultant
If it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen. Who’s not on Facebook, it’s as if they don’t participate in the elections. Same as across the world, these days social networks in Croatia have become a large battlefield in which political candidates test their mettle. Some choose a personal approach. Some zealously cite their programs, and some lead fierce smear campaigns. No matter what tactics are used, they are all on the digital battlefield and are fighting for their place in the digital space. Digital channels are once again “stealing” the glory of television – it’s no longer so important what someone said in the TV shows, but how they responded to the roll-call of another candidate on Facebook.
Unlike television, which is regulated in time slots and the importance it gives to candidates, Facebook and all digital channels are a fierce battlefield in which the primacy given to those with larger budgets, but also those who have a strong fan base. Why are they important? Fans live in their own little “bubbles”, courtesy of Facebook’s algorithm. To adapt to the needs and interests of users, Facebook daily serves them content that will best suit their interests. This means that if you have historically always responded well to the news about a specific political option, and chose to like only those pages, Facebook will continue to serve the same content, and other options in your Facebook world cease to exist.
This means that new options, new candidates or those old with new programs that you might be interested in, will not be able to reach out to you (unless they accurately target you through advertising) because Facebook’s algorithm protects your “bubble” from the news and content that are not according to your interests, at least those that are historically proven. What kind of a picture then are you getting about the current situation? Can you consciously weigh a certain political option and candidate, or has your (only) choice been already served for you somehow?
The same is true for those voters who traditionally don’t vote. The messages of any political option simply don’t reach them. Facebook’s “bubble” allowed them complete peace from the election content and actually reinforced their apathy against the state in society. What if the current social situation is such that every vote counts? What if we need those voters who never vote? In order to adapt to the needs of users, Facebook is doing them a disservice – it’s preventing them in rational participation in public discourse and thus predestined their further political (non)participation.
Victory of Donald Trump, Brexit as well as many other completely wrong decisions according to the public – although absolutely democratic – were made on the wings of filtered content. Instead of public information which were more or less offered by the traditional media, in the digital world we are imposed a multitude of false information and false news. In the conditions of a society that doesn’t have the habit of thinking critically, such filtering brings uncritical results – it brings a win to an option that can turn Facebook’s algorithm to their advantage, and not the options that are the best according to our critical thinking.
What’s not on your Facebook feed, didn’t happen! A candidate who doesn’t appear on your Facebook feed is not a candidate in the elections. Out of the best intentions to adapt to your interests, Facebook is becoming its exact opposite – undemocratic and conservative, making your Facebook history determine both your Facebook future, and your real-life future.