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Stasis Theory: Social Media in Human Lives


Stasis theory can be used to understand the contentious debates such as the influence of social media on humans. In this essay, stasis theory is used to examine the standpoint of key stakeholders in social media on how it affects human lives. The stakeholders comprise users, government/regulators, investors, and employees. Through the lens of stasis, it can be seen that there is no clear cut consensus on the effects of social media on human lives hence the problem will persist.


According to stasis theory, this section should focus on what information is available regarding the issue. Social media is a powerful channel of communication, having considerable influence in both urban and rural settings. Not only has the digital revolution impacted companies and increased global accessibility, but it has also equally altered the way people communicate. There are over 3 billion social media users worldwide as of 2019, accounting for around 45% of the world’s population (Key). These figures demonstrate digital media’s rising prominence in everyday lives.

Social media has dominated business, marketing, and, more recently, education. Internet technology has profoundly affected how individuals interact and has developed into a vital element of social life. For example, WhatsApp has revolutionized and elevated the culture of instant messaging (IM). Nowadays, an individual only needs to have stable internet access to text anyone in the world. Apart from WhatsApp, other social networking platforms facilitating this revolution include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Online communication has expanded people’s awareness of events occurring in other regions globally. A classic illustration of social media’s influence is the Arab Spring, a series of pro-democracy rallies and demonstrations that swept over the Middle East and North Africa. Although it began in Tunisia, many citizens from other Arab countries resorted to using social media to urge people to unite and protest against bad government and tyranny (Kim and Lim 417). The demonstrations’ most visible impact was the ouster of Tunisia and Egypt’s heads of state.


This section aims to classify the subject and its essence. According to Stones et al. (2), “social media is concerned with sociology, not technology,” and its “media” aspect is about techno-social systems rather than technology. This definition implies that information and communication devices both allow and hinder the process of knowledge generation, diffusion, and consumption. Overall, the main stakeholders affected by this issue include social media users, government/regulators, social media investors, and social media firms”’ employees.

Social Media Users

Undoubtedly, the most important social media stakeholders are the users or subscribers. Overall, social media users are stakeholders with low power but high interests. This means they have to be updated as they can cause strong influence if they are dissatisfied. Interestingly, many have assumed a subsidiary role regarding this controversial debate. This could be due to the general belief that social media has no damaging consequences.

Nonetheless, many social media users have expressed significant concerns about the increasing misuse of social media. In one poll by Pew Research Center, 91 percent of Americans “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that consumers had lost influence on how private data is gathered and utilized by all kinds of organizations (Rainie). Furthermore, about 80 percent of social media users indicated they were disturbed by marketers and corporations obtaining the data they disclose on social networking sites, and 64 percent felt the authorities must do more to regulate marketers (Rainie). The paradox is that despite these concerns, social media users still find it difficult to unplug from the sites, and this can be attributed to the interconnectedness they feel when online.


Unlike social media users, governments or regulators are stakeholders with high power and low interest. As a result, they can derail the activities of social media companies if specific rules and regulations are not followed. Many governments always echo the concerns by social media users. Thus, it can be argued that social media users and governments agree on the need to regulate social networking sites. For example, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal occasioned calls by the U.S. government for Facebook to come clean on its user data policy or risk strict censorship measures. Indeed, social media users would have welcomed such a move since, unlike the former governments are constitutionally empowered stakeholders. However, attempts by governments to regulate social media have been met with protests and condemnations.

In the United States, the first amendment makes it nearly impossible to control social media. For example, recent attempts in Texas and Florida to enact rules regulating major platforms were found unlawful and temporarily suspended, awaiting an appeal (Patel). As a result, social media sites have been left to self-regulate, only exacerbating the problem. In one of its online publications, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that “the current consumer concerns present an opportunity for you to build on consumer trust by implementing effective voluntary industry-wide practices to protect consumers’ information privacy” (Federal Trade Commission). According to this statement, it is the responsibility of investors in social media to protect consumers from online exploitation and deception of any kind. Thus, on the one hand, social media users believe the government has enough power to regulate social networks, and on the other hand, the government, through FTC, argues that its powers are limited.

Social Media Investors

Social media investors are stakeholders with high power and high interests. This means that as opposed to governments and social media users, they must be managed actively. Perhaps this huge influence explains why social media investors, particularly advertisers, remain unperturbed despite being heavily implicated in many scandals. Case in point, businesses spend more on social media marketing with each passing day. Global social media marketing expenditure surpassed $31 billion in 2016, with yearly growth rates of up to 30% (Jelassi and Martínez-López 316). Evidently, while social media users and governments emphasize the need for social media companies to scale down on data mining, thellatter’s”’ only concern is leveraging the growing number of internet users and increasing revenues.

Thus, for social media companies they are operating ethically and not breaking any laws. Indeed, this is not the position of the previously discussed stakeholders. In his recent comment about the growing threat of TikTok, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that “The thing that is so unique is that TikTok is so big as a competitor already and also continues to grow at quite a fast rate off of a very large base” (Murphy). Such remarks show that for social media executives, what matters is adding more users to their platforms and attracting investors. More importantly, turning a blind eye to the adverse effects of social media helps to undermine the severity of the issue.

Social Media Firms”’ Employees

Employees of social media companies are stakeholders with low power and low interest. It is challenging to underpin the views of social media employees on the problem because they seldom speak out. This could be due to the fear of losing their jobs or specific employee privileges for leaking internal issues within their organizations. For example, whereas social media users are expected to follow company rules and regulations, they often break them without consequences. Often, the worst consequence is being banned from the platforms, but many users circumvent such bans by opening new accounts with different profiles. In contrast, social media employees do not have the same luxury. Any violation of company policy will most likely lead to dismissal, which has far-reaching consequences.

Nevertheless, the silence does not mean social media employees are willing participants in the ongoing exploitation and misuse of online users and their data. The documentary, The Social Dilemma, demonstrated this by showing how invasive social media had become (Netflix). It examined the increasing impact of social media platforms, emphasizing the role played by Facebook and Google. The central theme was that these giant internet companies monitor users’ every activity online. They track user activities, construct personalized profiles using artificial intelligence, and employ algorithms to manipulate their future behavior. The user’s presence on their websites is translated into marketing revenue for advertisers, influencers, and politicians looking to capitalize on particular consumer preferences or interests.

The documentary establishes its authenticity using interviews with several former employees from these corporations and real-world instances. Since the documentary is based on the investigative works of former social media employees, it goes without saying that they do not espouse the views and practices of social media investors. One of the producers illustrated how his proposal only caused a stir in the company for a week and down without any action being taken (Netflix). The logical conclusion is that such findings were considered bad for business from the perspective of social media owners and investors. On their part, the social media employees considered them moral imperatives that needed to be addressed urgently.


In stasis theory, the quality of the issue is used to determine whether it is good or bad. In recent years, social media has been associated with “big data.” According to Günther et al. (191), “big data refers to large volumes of extensively varied data that are generated, captured, and processed at high velocity and can be used with analytical applications to develop innovative insights, products, and services.” The impact of Big Data was accentuated in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the latter obtained data and information on the former’s subscribers (Brown 1). This information was utilized to change the outcome of the 2016 presidential race by appealing to people’s predispositions. Today, the exploitation of this data by academics, advertisers, and the government has become mainstream.

Many scholars have also linked increased social media use with unhealthy social behaviors and deteriorating mental health. For example, Shakya and Christakis (210) determined that the excessive usage of Facebook led to more bad feelings and decreased satisfaction with life. Ultimately, the stakeholders that bear the brunt of the invasiveness of social media are the users. The sad reality is that propaganda sells more than genuine facts or news on social media. For instance, The Social Dilemma revealed that fake news or misinformation travels six times as quickly as factual (Netflix). Consequently, propaganda and unsubstantiated claims have grown in popularity thanks to social media platforms like Facebook.


Stasis theory requires researchers to identify solutions and future directions on the issue. The most popular social media sites have comparable content filtering practices. They prohibit postings that praise or incite violence and entries that are sexually provocative or include hate speech. The sites have also implemented efforts to curb misinformation, like fact-checking postings, designating state-run news sites, and prohibiting political advertisements (Hall 6). The problem is that the firms are not obliged to control hostile or threatening content since their ad-based economic models depend on keeping consumers online. Social media corporations, for their part, have claimed that it can be difficult to discern hate speech from sarcasm or criticism. Some firms argue that it is not their responsibility to create the regulations for the web and have asked for government control (Zuckerberg). On the contrary, state attempts to regulate social media are often criticized as a direct infringement of free speech.

To this end, there are no easy solutions to the problem. Recent events, however, have demonstrated that the current system cannot be maintained indefinitely. With democracy in jeopardy, the actions of corporations and policymakers today will shape the direction of public conversation on the issue. Firms in social media and technology, in general, should now undertake a vital decision. They must strengthen user regulation policies and take proactive steps to prevent data mining, misinformation, hate speech, and violence on their services, or face stiff regulatory repercussions.


Stasis inquiries are used to determine the real cause for the disagreement or dispute and determine the weight of evidence. The concepts of the theory have been applied to explore the divergent perspectives of different stakeholders on the effects of social media on human lives and, in this way, has helped to contextualize the state of the problem. Through the theory, the divergent of various stakeholders regarding the topic have been discussed. Disagreements have led to stagnation in policymaking and the inability to regulate social media companies. To this end, all stakeholders must be represented in future debates regarding social media regulation. This way, each group will have an opportunity to express its concerns and how they can be addressed.

Works Cited

Brown, Allison J. “””Should I Stay or Should I Leave?””” Exploring (dis) Continued Facebook Use after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.” Social Media+ Society, vol. 6, no.1, 2020, Web.

Federal Trade Commission. “Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road.” Federal Trade Commission, Web.

Günther, Wendy Arianne, et al. “Debating big data: A Literature Review on Realizing Value from Big Data.The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 191-209. Web.

Hall, Holly Kathleen. “The new voice of America: Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.First Amendment Studies, vol, 51, no. 2, 2017, pp. 49-61. Web.

Jelassi, Tawfik, and Francisco J. Martínez-López. Strategies for E-Business: Concepts and Cases on Value Creation and Digital Business Transformation. Springer Nature, 2020.

Key, Briony. “””Number of Social Media Users 202” Statista, 2017, Web.

Kim, Harris Hyun-soo, and Chaeyoon Lim. “From Virtual Space to Public Space: The Role of Online Political Activism in Protest Participation during the Arab Spring.International Journal of Comparative Sociology, vol, 60, no. 6, 2019, pp. 409-434. Web.

Murphy, Hannah. “Meta’s Perfect Storm: Fleeing Users and Apple Privacy Changes Hit Ads Business.” FinancialTimes, 2022, Web.

Netflix. The Social Dilemma. Netflix, 2020, Web.

Patel, Nilay. “Can We Regulate Social Media without Breaking the First Amendment?The Verge, 2021, Web.

‌Rainie, Lee. “Americans’ Complicated Feelings about Social Media in an Era of Privacy Concerns.” Pew Research Center, 2018, Web.

Shakya, Holly B., and Nicholas A. Christakis. “Association of Facebook Use with Compromised Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study.” American journal of epidemiology, vol, 185, no. 3, 2017, pp. 203-211. Web.

Stones, Simon, et al. “Like, Retweet, Repeat: The Use of Social Media in Healthcare, Illustrated by Three Stakeholder Perspectives.” Children’s Research Network (En-IE), 2019, Web.

Zuckerberg, Mark. “Mark Zuckerberg: The Internet Needs New Rules. Let’s Start in These Four Areas.” Washington Post, The Washington Post, 2019, Web.

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