3: Social Media Silences Our Political Opinion Indirectly


Actually, I would like to give the opinion of my political position online. But somehow I decided to dismiss the idea of mine when I realize the internet is not that really safe and free enough. The Internet is a space where we can interact with others quickly as we knew. It gathered people from all over the world to be another one community to share our idea. We thought that this is another free society we have built. We fool ourselves. Our political position is not that unrestrained on the internet. Even freedom of speech is a kind of basic human rights. But we still need to take real responsibility for our online remarks when the government monitors people’s online behavior. Furthermore, the government monitoring is not the only reason of silences our political position Indirectly. Our remarks have been criticized or support rate low are also impact our political position present change.

Do you remember that the former CIA employee Edward Snowden disclosed the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM plan in 2013 and accusing the U.S. government of monitoring the public? He is now being wanted by US government. The PRISM Plan is about the ICREACH’s search engine which the database of the search engine has more than 850 billion pieces of data and can secretly provide data to 23 government agencies, including people’s phone numbers, e-mails, fax contents, mobile phone locations, and online chat messages.

“ICREACH” is a database shared by “one-stop collection tools.” Intelligence personnel can track the investigation of someone’s actions, understand his religious beliefs and political tendencies, find out about his institution, and predict his possible future actions. However, according to The Intercept reporter Ryan Gallagher, ICREACH not only provides data on terrorists or suspects but also includes data on “million American and others country civilians who have not committed crimes.” Which mean our privacy has been invaded and monitor by US government.


Our behavior on the Internet is indirectly constrained when we are monitored. This makes people more afraid to express their personal political opinion online. According to the Pew Research study found out Americans are less willing to share their political opinions online. When some political dynamics prevailing off the line as online – of the 14% of Americans unwilling to voice an opinion in person, almost no-one would voice it online either. But their report that 86% of Americans willing to have in-person conversations about the Snowden issue versus just 42% of social media users willing to post about it on Facebook or Twitter.

The Others online may also have been influenced by witnessing trolling vs bullying and ostracism online which may affect their willingness to voice an opinion online. Or they maintain a neutral attitude towards politics online. Like recently people’s online response to Brexit and Trump has been neutral.

But how can people’s political opinion on the Internet get more support?  When someone as our friend publishes personal political opinions online or search something about the politics on social media, our first social media page would show us online posts from our friends’ share. Even when we type the first letter on the search engine, the crawler will show what our friends have read or searched. Indeed, not only our friends’ online behavior habits affect what we see online even our past online behavior habits also. It is about the theories of the Echo Chambers and the Filter Bubbles. When our online behavior has been recorded, the network will provide some content that we may be interested in based on our records every day. Network gathered lots of people who have different opinions, through the approach of Filter Bubbles to link each other like-minded people. Respond us like an echo via the social media.

An echo of political opinion makes our support ratio grow. The growth of political opinion support rate is the beginning of a revolution. People take a further action on revolution next not just talk on the internet. People become more organized during the revolution which organization can overthrow the authority of the government.

The “Hong Kong Umbrella Movement” and the “Arab Spring” as the good example to use the social media Facebook started up the revolutions. The “Hong Kong Umbrella Movement” and the “Arab Spring” as a good example to start up the revolutions from shared the individual political opinion on the social media Facebook.

“Social Media plays an important role in this social movement. As it can help accelerate the spread of the revolution at all levels of society and enhance the cohesion between the members of the movement.” as what I wrote on about “The Impact Of Social Media”.

Yet, people joined the “Hong Kong Umbrella Movement” having some accounts are squaring now with the government after the revolution. And the old forces organized cut off the revolutionary achievements of the “Arab Spring”. Clearly, the government’s strong monitoring makes us feel precarious in real life when we publish political opinions online. People online keep quiet of the personal political opinions expression most of the time because they are afraid of social isolation or exclusion. We are in a state of spiral of silence for posting personal opinions on political topics online.

Is the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube good venues for political discussion? It depends on whether the government is strongly resistant to the democratic voice. Do they limit our rights and infringe our privacy indirectly when we posted political opinions online? At least we notice US government are now doing this as well.


Keith N. Hampton, Associate Professor, Rutgers University Lee Rainie, Director, Internet Project Weixu Lu, PhD student, Rutgers University Maria Dwyer, PhD student, Rutgers University Inyoung Shin, PhD student, Rutgers University Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research, Internet Project. (). Pew Research Internet Project – Social Media and the ‘Spiral of Silence’. Retrieved from https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1354894/mod_resource/content/2/Social_Media_and_the_Spiral_of_Silence_S.pdf

Thomas R. (3 November 2016). Pious progressives have created a spiral of silence which could yet conceal a Donald Trump victory. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/03/pious-progressives-have-created-a-spiral-of-silence-which-could/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Elisabeth N. (n.d.). The Spiral of Silence A Theory of Public Opinion. Retrieved from https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1354899/mod_resource/content/2/Spiralofsilence.pdf

Yu Liu a, * , Jian Raymond Rui b , Xi Cui. (20 April 2017). Are people willing to share their political opinions on Facebook? Exploring roles of self-presentational concern in spiral of silence. Retrieved from https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1382582/mod_resource/content/1/L5DopeopletalkpoliticsFacebook.pdf
Anonymous. (n.d).Of course social media is transforming politics. But it’s not to blame for Brexit and Trump. Retrieved from https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/of-course-social-media-is-transforming-politics-but-its-not-to-blame-for-brexit-and-trump/

Keirna W. (4 November 2017). The impact of social media. Retrieved from



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