Category:  Social Media

Social Media and Accountability

Should we hold politicians and political candidates accountable for what they tweet on Twitter and what they post on Facebook?

It is almost a guarantee that during political campaigns, candidates and politicians will have an opinion or statement that contradicts a previous opinion or statement. The media calls this flip-flopping. It happens a lot. Many times a politician will say their opinion has changed or now with better facts, they can make an informed statement. However, this is done using the politician’s speeches, statements and votes. What about a politician’s tweets and statuses? Should we hold politicians accountable for those?

It would seem so. A politician’s tweet or status is his or her opinion. They (or their staff) took the time to think about what to write on Twitter or Facebook and posted it. Just because they didn’t issue this statement to the press in a typical news release or press conference or speech doesn’t mean the public and media should ignore it. The public and media should take what politicians and candidates say on Twitter and Facebook as their word. If they say something that contradicts what they said earlier on Twitter or Facebook, they should be held accountable for that.

The average Joe and Jane gets in trouble all the time for what they post on Twitter and Facebook. Politicians should be held in the same. An important caveat to this point is that the Twitter account or Facebook page has to be the official one to make sure that this is really the politician or candidate who is speaking and not a impersonator. A tweet or a Facebook status should be considered in the same light as an official press release, news conference or statement.  

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