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People in emerging economies around the globe are becoming wary of using social media for political news due to the rampant amount of misinformation spreading on those platforms, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Expand chart
Adapted from a Pew Research Center chart; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Social media has largely democratized ideas and information, but people in developing countries now say that the technology also makes it easier for politicians to manipulate them — meaning it isn't as reliable as in-person communications.

Details: A median of 57% of respondents from the 11 countries surveyed say that social media increases people's ability to have a meaningful voice in politics. A median of 65% say those same technologies increase the risk of manipulation by domestic politicians.

  • In most countries surveyed, a majority of respondents say that in-person discussions are more valuable to keeping up with political news than social media.

The big picture: This discrepancy between the net benefits and net problems caused by social media gets at the heart of the debate of how countries around the world should be thinking about social media regulation.

  • While most people in developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia say they still rely on social media to introduce them to new ideas and to promote the causes of non-profit groups, most say they don't trust the news circulated on those platforms.

The bottom line: Social media, once celebrated as a great equalizer, is also seen as a risky way to communicate about politics in many places around the world, largely due to increased fears of political weaponization.

Go deeper: Viral lies spread before Indian and Indonesian elections

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”