Social Media and Human Rights

It is fascinating how the long list of different social media platforms continues to improve in one way or another the exercise of the human rights promulgated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Even when misinformation has become an obstacle and sometimes a dangerous trigger of conflicts, it is still promising how the access to social media can make a difference in our fundamental and universally protected human rights.

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on

For example, the use of Facebook, additionally to keeping us in communication with friends and family, has also created opportunities for entrepreneurs and established companies to advertise their products and services, and for individuals, to collaborate and join different groups. Twitter on the other hand, continue allowing its users to share their thoughts and discuss in an open and equal environment different topics such as political opinion, social justice, right to free speech, etc. Instagram, as a photo sharing platform, has also created the perfect online environment for promoting and portraying through pictures the value of family as it is mentioned in article 16 of the UDHR, and/or the fundamental right to present ourselves without distinction of any kind.

Blogging has also become since its creation the perfect online venue to exercise the right to freedom of thought as it is mentioned in the 18 of the UDHR. To be able to express your own opinion and/or exchange ideas also constitute an achievement of the social media platforms as an instrument to protect the human rights. As for LinkedIn, we cannot deny its influence as a recruitment tool that to a greater or lesser degree has helped for a number of years to exercise the fundamental right to find a job as mentioned in the article 23 of the UDHR.

The idea that the most commonly used world-wide-based social media platforms have created the online environment for groups of people and/or entire countries to continue the defense of human rights, also need to be attached to the fact that the same social media tools have created fundamental risks for those that rely on their use to continue trying to exercise their human rights in countries where authoritarian and despotic regimes control their access. Unfortunately, in countries like China, Iran, Turkmenistan and North Korea, where Facebook and Twitter are banned, the risk to be imprisoned, tortured or killed remains a treat for those individuals that have used or even consider to use any of the above-mentioned social media platforms. There are also risks associated with the use of social media that could somehow compromise the privacy of their users. Even with the existence of well-structured set of rules and codes of conduct implemented by the social media platforms, any user can be target of attacks to its honor and reputation. This is why it is so important that, even when social media platforms promote freedom of speech, caution is always exercised when sharing thoughts, pictures, and/or recorded and/or live video with others.

Photo by Paddy O Sullivan on

At the end, we should realize that as most of the social media platforms continue contributing to keep the human rights alive, we should also realize that the social media platforms can be used to oppress any kind of opposition to authoritarian regimes, disturb elections, and contribute to crimes against humanity. It could be difficult in so many levels to keep the social media environment free of conflicts and/or controversy, but is our responsibility as society to be vigilant that every single human right proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights continues to be exercised and protected in our most commonly used social media platforms.

Do you feel your human rights are exercised when using Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? What worries you the most when authoritarian governments use social media to prosecute its detractors? All your comments are welcome, and I hope you have the opportunity to reflect on the importance to exercise your human rights through the use of social media platforms.


Regardless of the social media platform you commonly use, do you exercise your #HumanRights when posting in Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Feel free to read my blog and join this fundamental conversation. #StandUp4HumanRights #NoToHate


We should all exercise and protect our fundamental human rights when visiting and/or posting in social media platforms. Feel free to read my blog and keep the discussion rolling about the relationship between social media and our human rights.

2 thoughts on “Social Media and Human Rights

  1. Super interesting read! social media definitely has a huge impact on human rights movements around the world – so much information is at our fingertips! One just has to look at the content surrounding the uprise in Iran to see how much social media can affect important protests on human rights everywhere.

  2. I am glad you found my blog interesting. Iran is definitely a good example of how the use of social media platforms can generate that extraordinary social movement against an authoritarian regime. It is heartbreaking to see how many lives have been lost, but I hope the power of social media continue being used to help Iranians to fight for their human rights.

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