Disinformation, social media, bots, and astroturfing: the fourth wave of digital democracy

Autores/as

  • Berta García-Orosa Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.nov.03

Palabras clave:

Artificial intelligence, Astroturfing, Automation, Bots, Covid-19, Big data, Democracy, Algorithms, Disinformation, Election campaigns, Political communication, Hoaxes, Fake news

Resumen

This article reflects on the conceptualization and the salient features of the ecology of e-democracy. The authors identify four distinct waves marked by technological innovations and studied under the control–participation dichotomy. In the first wave, during the 1990s, political actors begin to establish their online presence but without any other notable changes in communication. The second wave takes place from 2004 to 2008 and features the consolidation of social networks and the increasing commodification of audience engagement. The third wave begins to take shape during Obama’s 2008 election campaign, which featured micro-segmentation and the use of big data. The fourth wave, starting in 2016 with the Brexit campaign and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, has been defined by the front and center use of Artificial Intelligence. Some recent phenomena that challenge or buttress the make-up of critical public opinion are the following: a) digital platforms as political actors; b) the marked use of Artificial Intelligence and big data; c) the use of falsehoods as a political strategy, as well as other fake news and deep fake phenomena; d) the combination of hyperlocal and supranational issues; e) technological determinism; f) the search for audience engagement and co-production processes; and g) trends that threaten democracy, to wit, the polarization of opinions, astroturfing, echo chambers and bubble filters. Finally, the authors identify several challenges in research, pedagogy and politics that could strengthen democratic values, and conclude that democracy needs to be reimagined both under new research and political action frameworks, as well as through the creation of a social imaginary on democracy.

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Publicado

2021-10-28

Cómo citar

García-Orosa, B. (2021). Disinformation, social media, bots, and astroturfing: the fourth wave of digital democracy. Profesional De La Información, 30(6). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.nov.03

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