Market leaders Marsh and Eurasia, in political risk insurance and advising respectfully, have released a report about increased social media usage driving higher political risk. Here are some of the highlights:
- 1.73bn people will use social networks in 2013; 2bn in 2015; and 2.5bn w/in 5 years
- Major instances of social media affecting political risk: Libya, Syria, Brazil, Turkey
- “In Brazil, for example, more than 80% of the participants in a recent major political rally learned about it via social media, according to research firm Datafolha.”
- The report draws up that four reasons will exacerbate political risk from social media:
- Accelerate: While previous civil unrest and protest movements took heaps of legwork and organization, social media allows for the logistics to be quickly proliferated.
- Spread: Single country to regional events can be transformed via social media (although how that happens isn’t explored).
- Target: Those seen as pliable to target governments can become the fulcrum of events via social media.
- Deflect: Governments may use social media to create confusion over and divert the attention of protestors.
- The deflection approach I can see happening in more sophisticated operations (think China deflecting attention to Japan) but will likely come across as pathetic and inauthentic in less advanced operations (think, say, if Zimbabwe has operations).
Points not mentioned:
- The effects of Sina Weibo in China has been much more pervasive than most western media outlets report (sans BBC).
- The use of social media was particularly effective in Iran. So much so that it has been shuttered until only recently.
- India’s infamous corruption has been publicized with the efforts of social media. I’d say the truest co-culprit is the rise of cell phones, not social media per se.
- Many countries have used social media to crack down on independent media. That’s something that will have indirect consequences on investments.
To access the full report go here.