CAMRI Doctoral Researcher Aliaksandr Herasimenka and Reader in the School of Media and Communication Anastasia Kavada wrote an article for The Conversation about how becoming WhatsApp group admin became one of the most powerful jobs in politics.
In the article, Herasimenka and Kavada wrote about how politicians have recently been using messaging services like WhatsApp to discuss political matters and sidestepping official channels in their communications.
Discussing the WhatsApp group for the European Research Group (ERG), they wrote: “Many similar WhatsApp groups now exist in parliament. They unite MPs of different parties that range from Labour factions to the ‘One Nation’ group of moderate Tories. Communicating in a WhatsApp group even allows MPs to organise across party boundaries, helping them to defy the official line on key issues.”
They focused on the power complex of being an admin of a WhatsApp group, and wrote: “A traditional party has a leader and a whip; a WhatsApp group has an administrator. A new breed of operative therefore wields significant power.”
Herasimenka and Kavada also noted the dangers of encryption, and added: “Elected politicians should not abuse the capabilities of digital media like the encryption mechanisms of platforms. Otherwise, society risks losing track of government communications related to important matters such as Brexit.”