What is the impact of social media on state surveillance?
The influence that social media has had on state surveillance is perhaps the most influential within surveillance culture and the factor that raised the most controversy. This is a topic that has gained large amounts of media attention since Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which the NSA were using social media and the lack of transparency in the fact they had direct access to personal data from most of the main social media websites. Scott argues that social media sites are public space and that government mass surveillance undermines our democracy. The more time we collectively spend on social media and the more information we share, the more the government use it for surveillance. We can monitor the increased amount of social media from the state by the increasing amount of companies who now offer social media monitoring software that the government can use to sift through large amounts of social media created data.
Trottier notes that the police commonly make use of social media while undertaking investigations. They do this by accessing profile information, befriending suspects and using warrants to obtain information from platforms. The main reasoning behind the authorities use of social media is in order to catch terrorist as a great deal of organising and recruiting is done through social media. However, Trottier believes that this has caused ‘an enhanced police presence in – and scrutiny of- everyday life’. Movements such as the Black Lives Matter have been subject to a large amount of government surveillance via social media with authorities in Oregon using social media monitoring systems to track twitter hashtags related to the movement.