Over the last five years, widespread concern about the effects of social media on democracy has led to an explosion in research from different disciplines and corners of academia. This book is the first of its kind to take stock of this emerging multi-disciplinary field by synthesizing what we know, identifying what we do not know and obstacles to future research, and charting a course for the future inquiry. Chapters by leading scholars cover major topics – from disinformation to hate speech to political advertising – and situate recent developments in the context of key policy questions. In addition, the book canvasses existing reform proposals in order to address widely perceived threats that social media poses to democracy.
‘Tackling some of the most pressing issues facing the public on the effect of social media on democracy, Persily and Tucker and contributing authors provide a grand tour of what academic research has taught us about digital politics and policy. From hate speech to polarization to misinformation and beyond, this work elucidates what we know about the impact of the Internet on democracy and presses us to think critically about how we can move this body of work forward to best inform policymaking. Social Media and Democracy should be required reading – for policymakers, academics, researchers, students of digital politics, and the general public.’ – Margaret Roberts, University of California, San Diego
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