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Social media helps keep young voters

People using their mobile phones at Metropolis on Aug 11, 2016.
People using their mobile phones at Metropolis on Aug 11, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

Youngsters today are, no doubt, heavy consumers of social media but I cannot agree with Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip's assessment that the younger generation is highly susceptible to manipulation by social media, thanks to shorter attention spans ("US polls scenario possible here"; Dec 4).

It is true that there are some false statements being propagated by people and groups through social media because it is mostly unregulated.

However, it is precisely this unregulated atmosphere that allows social media users access to all sides of the story and, at the end of the day, to judge for themselves.

In the Brexit vote and the United States presidential election, the young heavily favoured the views of mainstream economic and political experts, and voted accordingly to stay in the European Union and for Mrs Hillary Clinton. This suggests that the high social media usage among young people has made them better informed. They have also the maturity to judge based on facts and reason over emotion.

In both instances, a bigger part of the older generation neglected the established facts and turned away from the experts.

This led to unexpected results that created great uncertainty for people and businesses.

Trust is the key element to building the certainty and stability for our country to succeed.

In Singapore's case, any uncertainty can possibly lead to unforeseen short-term and long-term consequences.

With this in mind, the establishment experts and the Government must continue to work hard to maintain this delicate trust of the people that was built up over a long time.

This means sticking to our core principles of zero-tolerance for corruption and ensuring that every Singaporean has a fair shot at success.

Trust is the key element to building the certainty and stability for our country to succeed. Maintaining this sacred trust will be vital for policymakers to win the mandate to take the difficult decisions needed for our country, moving forward.

Lionel Loi Zhi Rui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'Social media helps keep young voters '. Print Edition | Subscribe