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PM Mitsotakis says Social Media are “bad for our democracy”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed social media for the increase of unrest in the country and depicted them as a “threat to democracy.” Speaking during a debate with main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA) over police brutality, Mitsotakis said, among others, that social media “are an echo chamber and young people are incapable of being critical towards the content they consume.”

“The way social media work today and the algorithms of the big platforms they use actually reproduce and reward whatever views they may already have. They create barriers, barriers of tension, not barriers of dialogue. Barriers that feed back on the stereotypes they already have. On the one side and on the other side. And that is bad for our democracy, it is bad for the level of our dialogue. Because in this way young people are trapped in their views without developing their critical thinking, without questioning what they see, what anyone can serve them.”

The PM’s statements come after citizens flooded social media with footage showing police brutality after the violent incidents in Nea Smyrni suburb of south Athens on Tuesday. It was also amateur videos shot by citizens who filmed a police officer beating repeatedly a citizen with a collapsible baton and without a cause in a square of the same suburb two days earlier.

The incident sparked an outrage on social media, Greek Police and prosecutor investigate the issue, the officer was suspended.

In the last few days, citizens recorded at least 10 videos with extensive use of police violence, as vicegreece notes.

Mitsotakis statement comes a day after hashtag “BoycotGreekMedia” was created and used by thousands of Greeks complaining about distortion of news.

Apart for the unfounded claim that only young people use social media, the Greek PM obviously believes that people should only get their information from the state broadcaster and the private media that in their overwhelming majority have adopted the government point of view and the way the present news.

Alas!

Two mainstream channels distorted “footage.” One of them has allegedly edited a caption into a video showing police on motorcycles saying “Let’s f*ck them, let’s kill them.” Another one presented footage filmed by a journalist as if it was by police.

Since Thursday hashtag “BoycotGreekMedia has been trending on Twitter non-stop.

PS I can’t resist the temptation and write “controling social media” is so … Erdogan!

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16 comments

  1. What is bad for democracy are right wing governments that use the police to control people instead of being accountable to the people. Also what is bad for democracy is the appalling mismanagement of the Coronavirus – -destroying businsses and economic sectors with unprecedented lockdowns that are copied from China and are contrary to all countries’ Constitutions and totally unjustified.

    If Mitsotakis wants to talk about democracy, let him write an article or short book on the matter — so that we can laugh at his total lack of understanding.

    • Of course social media are bad (especially Fakebook), in all aspects. But do you know what is really bad for ‘democracy’ ? (that doesn’t exist anyway, because it is not governments who pull the strings). Letting people decide what is good for them without any education and guidance…. or – in other words – anarchy leading to chaos. This will happen soon anyway (within the next 3 years) when ‘civilization’ is going to collaps completely due to abrupt irreversible climate change: compared to that, the corona pandemic is just a minor foretaste of what is awaiting all humans on the planet. So dont worry, be happy and count your blessings.

      • I salute abrupt irreversible climate change. Western Civilization deserves it: It has been the worst custodian the earth has ever had.

  2. Wow.. that’s a bit rich. The only threat to Democracy is a Government that doesn’t allow Free speech and the right to protest. Not only in Greece but across the world.

  3. am sure if social media gave praise to the government and the PM he wont be saying that

  4. Every coin has two sides! Social media is good in many ways but some people are using it to write with foul language and spreading hate and conspiracy theories that are only lies. When you read something you have to check the sources and not just say; as I thought because it confirms some odd theorie you just hand yourself. Critical thinking is needed in every way. And that is what is missing and gives trolls and other maniacs “free way”!

  5. Koulis: “Social media is bad for democracy, m’kay? People are posting videos of police beating citizens and throwing malotovs. They’re talking about our complete inadequacy. It’s a threatening democracy that people are talking about democracy. Or the utter lack of it.”
    This dictator’s next step will be banning social media -only government edited and approved fabricated news for you to consume.

  6. >Greece’s PM (Prime Minister) Kiriakos Mitsotakis is using social media to do his propaganda
    >All his posts get mostly negative and mocking replies
    >PM: “Social media are bad for our democracy!”

  7. incredible statement… what happened to free speech….

  8. Social media is pretty much mandatory to preserve any remaining democracy in this world in 2021. Without it we’d be living in 1984, the book, not the year. And it’s horrible to see the whole world slipping in that direction more and more every day

  9. Social media are a double edged sword. Used wisely they can strengthen a democracy or even create one from scratch.
    Used with malicious intent on the other side they can utterly destroy a democracy.

    Dealing with them is walking a very narrow path with an alligator pit on one side and a snake pit on the other. You do not want to stumble and fall into either.

    Mitsotakis had some valid points about the filter bubbles, in which many consuments of social media live, but these bubbles do exist even without social media. Social media just make it easier to get caught in one. But banning them is no solution.

  10. “Mitsotakis said, among others, that social media “are an echo chamber and young people are incapable of being critical towards the content they consume.””

    Perhaps those young people don’t get sufficient education at school…..

  11. The thing about social media generally is that it’s still largely unregulated and contributors can (and do) post almost anything they like. The problem with that is that people searching for information on a topic (climate change for example) will come across a range of detailed information, some of which is true and accurate and some of which is a total fantasy.

    The older and wiser are able to discriminate much better when faced with outlandish claims, but because the young have less world experience it is very easy for them to get sucked in to extreme views. Once started down the extremist path it’s all too easy to find more and more false claims on social media that support the views you have already formed.

    Unregulated social media IS bad for democracy because it enables people (and young people in particular) to develop opinions and views that are not based on facts or reality. When young people grow up and vote in elections based on opinions they have formed from falsehoods found on social media then democracy does suffer.

    One ‘solution’ perhaps is for schools to teach students how to do research, how to be discriminatory, how to form a balanced view based on all available data?

    • Then by that logic ALL conversation between people is bad for democracy…. I don’t know what that even has to do with democracy though? I thought free exchange of ideas is a part of what democracy is all about. Censoring posts that are “harmful” (= someone in charge personally disagrees with them) is what’s really harmful. Unregulated social media is GREAT because it enables people to develop opinions and views of their own! When you try to get everyone to think alike, you’re getting dangerously close to Soviet Union

  12. KM is entirely correct; social media panders to intellectual lethargy, replacing the need to think for ones self with a depressing ability to agree with the herd with ease, however incompetent and incapable the herd might be.

    As for Sisifos arguing that there might, just might, be something amiss with the secondary education ciurriculum (see Wiki for detail), well, when the classics are accorded more time than the study of mathematics, then the world has gone mad, utterly mad.