Earlier today, January 7, news broke that there is a riot being staged at the United States Capitol, or the Capitol Building.
The riot is led by the supporters of President Donald Trump, after he called on them to support his false claim that he won the November 2020 presidential elections. It comes as the US Congress is currently counting the electoral votes which will certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. (Read: US Bishops Welcome Joe Biden As 46th President of The United States)
Because of the mayhem outside the Capitol Building, Congress had to postpone the certification of Biden’s victory. Democrats, world leaders, and the public around the world are enraged with how a peaceful and democratic process turned chaotic because the current president encouraged violence. Reports say four have already died because of the riot.
In a couple of now-deleted tweets, Trump seemed to have been encouraging violence in the Capitol. In one of the tweets, he posted a video where he claimed he won the November elections and that he “loved the rioters” and they were “very special.”
In another, he told rioters to go home but added that they were “great patriots” and that these people have been “badly and unfairly treated” for so long. “Remember this day forever!” Trump said. (Read: Donald Trump Posts Get Flagged by Twitter, Facebook)
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, also quoted one of her father’s tweets and even called the rioters “American Patriots.” The tweet has now been deleted after thousands of backlash against her and her father.
Because the tweets were undemocratic and can confuse a lot of users on social media, Twitter deleted the posts and locked Trump’s account for 12 hours. “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” Twitter said.
Social Media Influence
Incidents like this show just how much influence social media has on its users. According to King University, social media influences its users both positively and negatively. While it can help one meet people who share their interests, eventually, they will still find a need for validation from these people and known personalities. This is also why things got out of hand when Trump called his supporters “patriots.” (Read: My Pope-approved tips on how to behave in social media)
In another study by Zhan, Sun, Wang, & Zhang (2016), it was found that some people find “life satisfaction” through social media. This emphasizes that people have a need for affirmation from strangers over the internet, and that this is their primary motivation to keep doing what they are doing.
Christine Dacera Case
In the Philippines, a recent example of social media’s heavy influence on people is the Christine Dacera case. When the incident was brought to light, many netizens were quick to make assumptions about what happened despite the fact that authorities were yet to gather enough information about the case.
Because of the media frenzy that surrounded Christine’s passing, 11 people (the alleged ‘suspects’ or persons of interest in the case) were subjected to trial by publicity. Even Christine, the victim herself, was berated by netizens who called her names and blamed her for her alleged rape. (Read: 3 Ways to Avoid ‘Cancel Culture’ in Social Media)
As of writing, the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office has already ordered the release of the suspects in police custody. They also told investigators to submit additional evidence such as DNA analysis, toxicology reports, and histopath examination report to back their case. Netizens, on the other hand, are still in debates over what really happened to Christine and her peers on the morning of January 1.