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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2020
Print publication year:
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Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC Creative Common License - ND
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Book description

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. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


'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

'Democracy is fundamentally about how people connect to determine their collective fate. Social media is changing how we connect, and thus is transforming our democracy - in ways good and bad. This volume offers an impressive compendium of perspectives from some of the leading researchers in the world on the role that social media is and should be playing in contemporary democracy.'

David Lazer - University Distinguished Professor, Northeastern University

‘Social Media and Democracy is currently available open access, but it would also be an inexpensive and worthwhile print addition to an academic law library’s collection. … Social Media and Democracy is easy to read and understand. This title would be useful for a researcher studying First Amendment rights, antitrust, administrative law, and the intersection of the law and the media. It would also be helpful to a practicing attorney working on policy and legislation in this area.’

Cynthia W. Bassett Source: Law Library Journal

‘… invaluable … would be useful to undergraduate and graduate-level students studying politics, sociology, or communications along with researchers and policy analysts. The extensive data analyses and bibliographies make this title worthy of a place on library shelves … Recommended.’

H. L. Katz Source: Choice Magazine

‘Social Media and Democracy is an excellent book that manages to achieve multiple objectives in a relatively short space. The scholarly quality of the contributors is very high, and the depth of discussion is praiseworthy … [It] is a great reference for both researchers and practitioners working on a wide variety of crucial questions that the volume compels us to examine.’

Cantay Caliskan Source: Perspectives on Politics

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Full book PDF
  • Social Media and Democracy
    pp i-i
  • SSRC Anxieties of Democracy - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • Sponsored by the Social Science Research Council
    pp iii-iv
  • Social Media and Democracy - Title page
    pp v-v
  • The State of the Field, Prospects for Reform
  • Copyright page
    pp vi-vi
  • Dedication
    pp vii-viii
  • Contents
    pp ix-x
  • Figures
    pp xi-xi
  • Tables
    pp xii-xii
  • Contributors
    pp xiii-xiv
  • Preface
    pp xv-xviii
  • 1 - Introduction
    pp 1-9
  • 2 - Misinformation, Disinformation, and Online Propaganda
    pp 10-33
  • 3 - Social Media, Echo Chambers, and Political Polarization
    pp 34-55
  • 4 - Online Hate Speech
    pp 56-88
  • 5 - Bots and Computational Propaganda: Automation for Communication and Control
    pp 89-110
  • 8 - Misinformation and Its Correction
    pp 163-198
  • 9 - Comparative Media Regulation in the United States and Europe
    pp 199-219
  • 12 - Democratic Transparency in the Platform Society
    pp 286-312
  • Index
    pp 332-346


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