Social media a lifeline for persons with disabilities
Francis Ryan explains in The Guardian how social media is The missing link: why disabled people can’t afford to #DeleteFacebook. Ryan shows that in spite of the dangers, even negligence, of social media companies, online networks offer ‘a vital lifeline’ to people with disabilities. She cites Phillip Green, who suffers from multiple health problems, and difficulties to go out to socialise: “Without social media, life would be so much harder”.
Ryan explains the importance of balancing the need for social media and its risks while emphasising the need to urgently address the problems illustrated by the Facebook example, since leaving social media networks is a privilege not available to everyone.
She notes that improvements in safety and access are important for everyone, but especially minority and marginalised groups. Her quote from Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age explains this point: ‘We assume the Internet is open to all when it’s not,’ says Taylor. Taylor further notes that more than 20% of persons with disabilities in the UK, had never used the Internet, compared with only 10% of the adult population overall lacking that experience. She also pointed out that poor and rural areas often lack access to high-speed broadband.