Social Media and the Internet of Things

The power and influence of social media has continued to grow globally over the past decade. During this period, the scope and scale of usage have changed dramatically, from the early days when social media was primarily fulfilling social needs of connectivity, communication, socialization and entertainment, to the current era, where social media applications are seen as important tools of governing, development, diplomacy and business. More recently, informational flows taking place through social media have been informing—and misinforming—public opinion and influencing policy development and political communication. For example, in 2015 and 2016, social media played a critical role in shaping public opinion internationally and on national levels, during numerous major events with global implications. During the past few years, as applications of “big data” and artificial intelligence continued to mature, the level of sophistication and influence of social media expanded further. As societal penetration rates increased, these data-driven applications started to provide deep insights into public views, sentiments, needs, behaviors and activities in numerous countries at unprecedented granular levels. The newfound insights harnessed through social media created new opportunities, as well as new risks. 

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