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Den informerede borger i et digitalt samfund (Først udgivet i kultur & fritid // maj 2017)
Den „informerede borger“ bliver set som et af de grundlæggende principper i det moderne samfund. Ikke mindst derfor er pressen og de sociale medier en vigtig søjle parallelt med de lovgivende, udøvende og retslige elementer, der udgør dagens demokratiske strukturer. Generelt er der enighed om, at aktive og engagerede borgere, der træffer velinformerede beslutninger til glæde for flertallet, er en forudsætning for demokratiets succes. Men flere hævder nu, at dette ideal bliver udfordret, hvis ikke ligefrem undergravet, af de sociale medier. I starten blev Facebook, Twitter og lignende digitale platforme fejret som frigørende teknologi, der perforerer hierarkiske informationsstrømme. Dagens aktuelle diskussioner domineres af kritiske stemmer, der advarer mod såkaldte „filterbobler“, „confirmation bias“ og forsimplet infografik. Især professionelle journalister og forlag er hårdt ramt og udfordret af de muligheder sociale medier tilbyder privatpersoner, bloggere og såkaldte „prosumers“ ... (læs videre)

Latest DECIDIS research


Disability as infra-critique: a compositionist approach to the election process in Denmark (Christopher Gad & Steffen Dalsgaard, IT University Copenhagen)
This article investigates how disability can work analytically as a ‘critique from within’. Our case is the accommodation of citizens with disabilities during the voting process in Denmark. Here disability makes explicit how Danish democracy is produced as disability rubs up against implicit, normalized and mundane infrastructures and practices. We investigate disability as critique in this sense of affording a both analytic and practical ‘breakup’. To do so, we promote a ‘compositionist’ post-actor-network theory approach to disability and to polling and investigate what entry-point for critique this offers. We analyze an incident at a polling booth during the 2013 Danish Municipal election. This renders visible some of the complex socio-material processes through which citizens and the Danish state co-enact and co-authorize one another. We highlight how ‘detachments’ are vital to such processes and we examine parts of the historical background for the production of authority in the context of managing disability as exception during polling. In doing so we point out that as the organization of electoral processes evolves, new potentialities for infra-critique also emerge. (full article)

Cloaked Facebook pages: Exploring fake Islamist propaganda in social media (Johan Farkas, Jannick Schou & Christina Neumayer, IT University Copenhagen)
This research analyses cloaked Facebook pages that are created to spread political propaganda by cloaking a user profile and imitating the identity of a political opponent in order to spark hateful and aggressive reactions. This inquiry is pursued through a multi-sited online ethnographic case study of Danish Facebook pages disguised as radical Islamist pages, which provoked racist and anti-Muslim reactions as well as negative sentiments towards refugees and immigrants in Denmark in general. Drawing on Jessie Daniels’ critical insights into cloaked websites, this research furthermore analyses the epistemological, methodological and conceptual challenges of online propaganda. It enhances our understanding of disinformation and propaganda in an increasingly interactive social media environment and contributes to a critical inquiry into social media and subversive politics. (full article)

How can we study disguised propaganda on social media? Some methodological reflections (Johan Farkas & Jannick Schou, IT University Copenhagen)

’Fake news’ has recently become a seemingly ubiquitous concept among journalists, researchers, and citizens alike. With the rise of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it has become possible to spread deliberate forms of misinformation in hitherto unforeseen ways. This has also spilled over into the political domain, where new forms of (disguised) propaganda and false information have recently begun to emerge. These new forms of propaganda have very real effects: they serve to obstruct political decision-making processes, instil false narratives within the general public, and add fuel to already heated sites of political conflict. They represent a genuine democratic problem.
Yet, so far, both critical researchers and journalists have faced a number of issues and challenges when attempting to understand these new forms of political propaganda. Simply put: when it comes to disguised propaganda and social media, we know very little about the actual mechanisms through which such content is produced, disseminated, and negotiated. One of the key explanations for this might be that fake profiles and disguised political agendas are incredibly difficult to study. They present a serious methodological challenge. This is not only due to their highly ephemeral nature, with Facebook pages being able to vanish after only a few days or hours, but also because of the anonymity of its producers. Often, we simply do not know who is disseminating what and with what purpose. This makes it difficult for us to understand and research exactly what is going on. (read full blog post)

 

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