Lara's Log

Facebook influencing politics overseas and at home

Posted on: July 12, 2010

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As the din of vuvuzelas subsides, the repercussions of this years’ World Cup are stronger for some than others.  Most notably, the Nigerian football team who were originally banned from playing any international football for two years by the country’s president Goodluck Jonathan.

This ban has been rescinded following a campaign which included former Nigerian presidents, FIFA officials and over two thousand comments on Goodluck Jonathan’s facebook page. Last week, he posted:

“I read your comments and took them into account in the government’s decision to rescind the suspension of Nigeria from International Football. I had a meeting with the NFF today and conveyed my disappointment and those of Nigerians on this page and received assurances that there will be positive changes which will be institutionalized to make for a better team and better preparations for future events. To Suleiman Musa, Nwanze Francis Uchenna and Ifade Udunayo Peter and the hundreds of Nigerians who appealed to me on this page, I have listened to your voices and those of others and we must now work together to make sure that the NFF and our players do us proud in future events. GEJ”

However, I suspect the fact that FIFA threatened to expel Nigeria if the government interfered with the team may have had more an affect that the Facebook petitions. Still, nice bit of PR for Goodluck thanks to Facebook.

Goodluck Jonathan’s not the only one using Facebook to speak to ‘the little people’. Closer to home, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been in talks with Prime Minister David Cameron about polling users to solicit their opinions regarding the downsizing of the state.

Facebook has developed a Spending Challenge Channel specifically for the initiative, which functions as an extension of the pre-election Democracy UK pages already in existence. Users will be able to make suggestions regarding the budget directly to the government ahead of the spending review.

Chancellor George Osbourne:  “You pay the taxes that fund our public services, so you should also have a say on how we improve public services.”

The opposition Labour Party has maintained that the cuts are based on ideology rather than economics.

See a YouTube video of Cameron and Zuckerberg pat themselves on the back here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5Bbzi7s1Ko

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