Social networks

Social media are becoming even more popular than mainstream media in some instances now. Facebook is the top and most famous network. According to the Facebook website, almost 2 million Afghans are using Facebook. Twitter is the second network with a number of users which is less than half a million. According to the book “Ethic in social media” Facebook is used for news, events, literature, texts and entertainment. Almost everyone who can afford a smartphone connected to Internet is using Facebook and this is bringing a revolution in news dissemination throughout the country. Regardless of gender or being based in rural or urban areas, those who own a device use Facebook. Even those who are illiterate, in some instances use it just for uploading pictures and videos and liking pictures and videos from others. But indeed most users are literates. Although legitimacy is a big concern, Facebook has replaced mainstream media such as TV, radio and print in providing breaking news. Due to its importance and the speed of information sharing, almost all mainstream media have Facebook accounts, which are used mainly for receiving raw data from audiences.

Fake news, on the other hand, is a big challenge for social media. As many as 94 percent of the participants to a survey done by Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan said they have been affected by fake news through social media.

Despite all this, social media is becoming the main tool for changing or making public opinion. Campaigns are being performed through social media, mainly through Facebook. Even during elections, social media is becoming an important tool to campaign through. There are users of social media in rural area but no systematic studies have been performed in this regard. It is worth mentioning that mobile phone companies provide 3G Internet facilities both to cities and rural areas. This provides residents of rural areas the opportunity to also use social networks.

Social media is also used by various armed groups. The Taliban use Facebook and Twitter for their propaganda and news.