If we fail to learn how to use it to our advantage we fall into the hands of those have mastered itCast your mind back to 2011 and the Arab uprisings that began in Tunis before spreading to Egypt and beyond. Protesters used social media to communicate and coordinate, so it became the “Twitter revolution” and the “Facebook revolution”. It was the peak of techno-utopia, a moment of hope that technology would transform our political lives and put citizens in control.
Today, techno-utopia has given way to techno-dystopia. Many worry that technology is undermining democracy, spreading misinformation, equipping criminals and the authorities with new tools. This month, Apple, under pressure from the Chinese government, pulled an app that let protesters track the movements of Hong Kong police with crowdsourced data. It has been a long road from Tunis to Hong Kong. There is an element of truth about techno-utopia and dystopia. Social media makes it easier for protesters to communicate, create forums for discussion and spread information. Technology also makes it easier for authorities to snoop on citizens and control dissent.