Facebook as a Platform for Political Debate

Over the past few weeks I have been seeing an increasing number of articles covering political controversy popping up on Facebook. Just the other day I touched on the topic of Facebook being involved in mideast drama as it pertained to Israel and Palestine. Yesterday I saw another article about how debate over the future of Pakistan is taking place on Facebook. During his keynote interview at South by Southwest a couple weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg touched on the issue of political debate on Facebook and how it is becoming a forum for political discussion.

The theory is that Facebook is simply trying to produce a platform that enables participants to communicate more effectively and more easily without taking a position on any issues. I agree that Facebook should stay away from making political stances and as I’ve been discussing more regularly with friends and family, the social web is transforming interpersonal communications worldwide. This transformation is ultimately the democratization and free flow of information.

I believe that providing a forum for this discussion is the best thing that could happen to the world. Ultimately, in countries where people are taught stereotypes and biases about cultures and races, individuals can log on to Facebook and learn more about these individuals for themselves. While it won’t always provide an immediate solution, providing a forum for discussion most definitely avoids people taking to arms and lets the battles get played out in words.

I was going to write about the news about Pakistan debate on Facebook but I think that the real story here is that people are connecting worldwide on an unprecedented scale. While this started years ago with the proliferation of the internet, we are only beginning to witness the power that it has. With powerful translation tools on the horizon I can only imagine how these new tools for communication will break down barriers like never before.

I for one am enthusiastic about the potential for the future as a result of these new technologies. I think it is inevitable that humans will find truth through exposure to other cultures and Facebook is one of the tools that are leading the way in helping us gain more exposure. It’s indeed an exciting time to be alive!