Depoliticization in the Digital Info-Sphere: When Communication Runs Counter-Democratic
Corien Prins et al. (eds.), Digital Democracy in a Globalized World, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017
21 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 7, 2016
It is the main postulate of this paper that unlike conventional mass media focussed on content as a service, the commercial strategy in the new media landscape-based on aggregation and analysis of personal data-renders communication an end in itself and thus significantly degenerates any politicizing effect of ‘communication’. Rather than offering it as an end product, the new media use content to extract personal data from individuals for the purposes of intense and invasive profiling. Although both the conventional mass media and the new media still appear to be operating on revenues from advertising, the difference lies in the fact that the old mass media addressed the public in certain historically refined political and social segmentations. However the new revenue model — personalised services and behavioural advertising — aims for a kind of individualisation at such precision that any conception of ‘public’ becomes distorted. Such transformation — rendering information an end in itself — is both reflected and further reinforced through certain counter-democratic and politically disengaging dynamics — namely, atomised free speech, pseudo-participation and filter bubbles.
Keywords: digital democracy
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