Invisible Children, a San Diego-based charity recently uploaded a 30-minute video entitled “Kony 2012” to YouTube, which is intended to bring attention to the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony whose violent parliamentary group has long been accused of using children as soldiers. Kony 2012 went “viral” last week, and as a result, the video has exceeded 76 million views. Obviously, this situation is a testament to the effectiveness of social media (and the Internet in general) in spreading awareness about world issues and international atrocities.
However, the video has garnered many criticisms. Some claim that the video deeply misrepresents “the current state of play, including the fact that Mr. Kony has largely been defeated and is in hiding. Others chafe at the implicit ‘white man’s burden’ message of the video – that Western outsiders, and only Western outsiders can remedy the situation.” Additionally, and probably one of the most important criticisms, is the video’s oversimplification, in which a complex situation is reduced “to the story of a single bad guy whose capture would magically restore harmony to a conflict-scarred region.” Other experts say that videos like Kony 2012 that create “advocates for one side in an internal struggle in a foreign land, could lead to more intervention by the United States and other Western powers,” which can obviously have positive and negative implications. What are your views on social media campaigns like Kony 2012?