Risks and opportunities

By Democracy Club

Assume we’re talking about digital technology, rather than, say, the printing press. It’s easy to bring to mind the bad effects, which are reported widely: technology has made it easier to run disinformation campaigns, for viral fake news and rumour to spread faster, and perhaps to close minds in filter bubbles (though the evidence for the latter is weak, in fact, people may be exposed to more diverse sources of information through their social media ‘weak ties’ than they would normally see in their day-to-day real-life networks).

Important to dwell too on the innovations that might have had a more positive impact: the digital parties (esp. The Pirate Parties), the new products that have enabled broader publishing, discussion, collaboration and decision-making. These have enabled smaller political parties or organisations to leverage social media for new forms of income, campaigning and growth at high speeds — for good or ill. Crowdfunding for political campaigns is changing the game in the USA (e.g. ActBlue) — to some extent in Europe too.
Lastly, worth highlighting the civic-owned media that is being made possible via tech (e.g. De Correspondent, Open Democracy).

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