Seminar of digital democracy

Exploring the challenges for democracy in the digital age.

Session #2 • Social media politics

13 October

> see slides or download .pdf

> Read quotes from The Social Dilemma

Collective notes

Discussions on “The Social Dilemma”

  • People felt unsurprised, skeptical, powerless after the movie
  • Why were you skeptical? Some things in the film are simplified, way over the top, dramatic. The film is there to spark discussions, not to be “the truth”.

Summary of what has been discussed by groups

Meta Analysis of the film

  • The film was very biased, because it focused only of social media and not on other factors which could have affected politisation, division of society, etc…
  • If we look at the history, we cannot just say that social media is the cause.
  • There is an article that explains that the main reason of the recent oppositions is the rise of inequalities. The people who speak in the documentary are all engineers, they maybe miss a more holistic view of the situation.
  • They only showed the bad aspects of social media and not the positive aspects. Elie argues that the negative sides of social media are common to every capitalist organisations.
  • The positive aspects of social media are plentiful (communication, etc…)
  • There is a lack of concrete solutions that are proposed by the film.

Fake News

  • Social media are a necessity. But are they? There are alternatives that can be chosen and maybe we do need to have a conversation around our way of doing.
  • The most important part in order to change how things are created is to have people directly in the organizations that participate in the creation of social media. But they are humans who participate in the moderation of social medias. But the things that they see are horrendous. I didn’t catch everything here.
  • About Fake news, in Singapore there is a law against fake news, but they are used by the government to keep power and oppress? Citizens.
  • One of the reason that makes Fake News spread so much is because the social media algorithms push this type of messages. It is why the far-right is so present and powerful on social media. The far-right uses vocabulary which appeals to reaction, such as fear, being controversial, etc… And the movie conflates the far left and the far right but every fake news that they speak of are conspiracy theories are from the right.

Possible solutions?

  • The professor wants to try to be more critical about social media specifically rather than observe the whole system.
  • One solution can be on the level of the European Union via legislation, in order to constrain companies to publish their algorithms or avoid the problems.
  • About fake news, in Singapore there is a law against fake news, but they are used by the government to keep power and oppress? Citizens.