Is social media killing elections in Africa?

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Free and fair elections are needed for democracy, and their manipulation has always been an issue. But with the advent of social media, has this problem now become unmanageable? DiA’s own Nic Cheeseman joined a host of contributors for an episode of BBC Radio’s The Real Story.


Some argue that social media has levelled the playing field and opened up political space for people who previously had no voice. At the same time, there is plentiful evidence of foreign interference and the use of social media to spread disinformation in elections in the United States, Brazil, Kenya and India – to name just a few. So is it time for social media to be further regulated for the sake of democracy? Can technology companies be trusted to come up with their own solutions, or should governments intervene and make new laws? And if the state does step in, how can repression, surveillance and censorship be avoided? Celia Hatton and her guests delve into the murky world of social media during election campaigns.


Jamie Bartlett – technology author and documentary maker

Samantha Bradshaw – researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute

Nic Cheeseman – professor at the University of Birmingham

Also featuring

Rebecca Henschke – BBC Indonesia analyst

Idayat Hassan – Centre for Democracy and Development West Africa

Lisa Kaplan – former digital director for the election of Senator Angus King

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