Seminar on “Social Media and Policymaking from experiences of France and EU”
10/4/2018 11:16' Send story Print story

At the seminar, Prof. Arnaud Mercier analyzed the transformation from the traditional social information system into digital social information system and issues addressed in the policymaking of State institutions and regulations.

Giving specific figures, he pointed out that the proportion of modern audience spending considerable time on social media and news-seeking on social media had witnessed a constantly increasing trend. This changed the information-seeking habit of Internet users.

An overview of the seminar 

In the traditional information system, journalists play an important role in grasping, filtering, reporting issues and events, and providing their opinions for the public via the media. In the digital information system, especially on social media, the source of information has become multidimensional with the participation of amateur reporters, who are members of social networking sites. Prof. Mercier identified three concerning implications of the change: (i) Risks of legitimate information considered to be less reliable; (ii) Fake news emerges easily because of the blurred boundaries between truths and lies; (iii) Social media has a superpower over public opinion.

To control the new information system and promote the power of social media in the policymaking, policy-makers of France and the European Union started to build regulations and rules such as a Code of Conduct and new ethical standards. At the same time, they have made agreements and negotiated with social networks to reach a comment voice in restricting and controlling social network users.

Besides, Prof. Mercier shared several specific cases of German and French governments and the EU in the cooperation among EU members to build a set of regulations in the region and in each country on time frame and sanctions for social networks to verify information, remove fake news, law-breaking news or news that incites violence and social hostility. He emphasized that formulating regulations to control and promote social media in the policymaking and lawmaking was not simple but must be done.

For example, in France, the government hired researchers to study on impacts and necessities of information on social media in reporting realities, addressing social issues and making policies. Based on their policy recommendations, the French government decided to choose some social networks as a legitimate news source for the policymaking. Regulations on restricting the right of expressing personal opinions and comments of cadres and civil servants were set for some professional titles to limit impacts on the representation of the state power and risks of public affairs leak. The professor also indicated that to utilize and promote the power of social media in public service activities and the policymaking, the government system would have to make enormous change in the working style, the public service culture, technology, and equipment though it was not easy.

At the end of the working session, the professor spent time answering questions and giving comments on the ability of applying this approach into Vietnam.

News: Institute of Leadership and Psublic Policy; Photo: Manh Thang

Translator: Vu Lan Dung, Proofreader: Nguyen Viet Nga