Empowerment, Participation, and its Consequences

With the convergence of media and technologies, the ability for individuals to contribute and upload news and events to content aggregation sites or social networks has never been more convenient. The most notable examples of this is proven throughout the substantial footage of conflicts across Ukraine and also Syria. The ability for people to upload and distribute uncensored and unadulterated footage grows pivotal and more widespread as events rage on.

Liveleak - A commonly uncensored website which hosts a variety of disturbing and brutal media

Liveleak – A commonly uncensored website which hosts a variety of disturbing and brutal media

But then we move onto the developments surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013, and there is scrutiny surrounding how content is manipulated across social media. Subsequent to the bombing, the content aggregation site of Reddit collectively decided to give the FBI a supposedly much-needed hand in identifying the culprits. This led to the wrongful identification of Sunil Tripathi, after both Reddit and 4chan aggregated a whole bunch of info across a google document. Although they weren’t the only ones guilty of spreading misinformation, such as the New York Post identifying a suspect and plastering his face across their papers and website.

New_York_Post_logo

It was only when the FBI made the decision to release the names and pictures of the two culprits did both witch-hunts subside. So this begs the question on whether empowering social media with credibility, in times of crisis, is actually a good thing.

 

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