Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Associate Director Natalie Alhonte writes in the Huffington Post on how social media is reshaping politics in Latin America:
The Internet has given new meaning to the notion that Latin Americans love to connect. The region has the fastest growing Internet population in the world and 97 percent of its users are on social media platforms. By comparison, in the U.S. only 67 percent of Internet users are on social media platforms. South America’s largest country is no exception to the growth trend. Brazil has 65 million Facebook users, making it the largest market for the platform outside of the U.S., the same is true for Twitter with 41 million users.
But what makes Brazil’s social media unique is the way it is successfully transforming civil society’s ability to mobilize around a cause. The world witnessed this in June of 2013 when millions of citizens took to the streets to protest excessive government spending in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, and to demand better public services, such as education and health care. Social media experts also see the platforms as an important battleground for political hopefuls, particularly with the upcoming presidential elections in October.