Social media and governance (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1191)



What is the recent evidence on the impact of social media on governance of social, political, and economic bodies? How is social media regulated and governed in low-income and fragile contexts?


The literature suggests that social media has a lot of potential to be used for governance purposes, but that this is not capitalised on in most contexts. Many governments are using e-government strategies and disseminating information through online channels, but not soliciting citizen feedback. Where there are two-way channels, it is very unclear whether citizen feedback is acted upon. There is promising evidence on social media improving transparency of organisations and government ministries, but less evidence on whether this improves accountability. There is even less literature on social media used to monitor or report on corporate activities or other organisational governance. In general, there is a strong assumption in the literature that internet access and social media will improve transparency, accountability, and good governance, but little evidence on how this is achieved.


Browne, E. Social media and governance (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1191). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 13 pp.

Social media and governance (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1191)

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.