If somebody tweeted that “Villanova administration is using tuition money for private parties!”, would you believe it?

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We often hear about how social media is helping to free certain foreign populations from oppression by illuminating injustice at lightening speeds. We tweet about what we ate for lunch, they tweet about murders. We update our status by sharing a song, they do it by informing others about government propaganda.

We can all agree that Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have done great things for countries whose people are often censored by the government. Just look at the Arab Spring as an example. But we rarely take the time to consider the negative effects social media has on these populations.

Since these populations are being oppressed, they want to believe any anti-government talk they can find. Because of this, countless radical rumors have been started as a result of the use of social media. The most evident example of this is the use of “Weibo” (the twitter of Asia)  in China. 

Do the benefits of social media use in countries of oppression outweigh its negative effects? Is rumor starting on social media prevalent or is it over blown?