Digital Democracy / Participation

Think before you code.

What it is about:

Social-media has shown to increasinly influence political activities and the success of political parties. In Germany, the right wing party „AfD“ is highly active on social media. Approximately 85 percent of all shared Facebook posts of german political parties originate from the AfD. Their knowledge about the structure of the social media plattform allows them to dominate the political discourse within the digital public space.*
Furthermore, the big role of social-media advertisement during the 2016 american presidential elections and the big disinformation campaigns in advance of the elections in Brazil culminating in the victory of Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate, that this is an ongoing process, which threatens democratic values and institutions all over the world.

Therefore we aim at putting the focus on the influential power of the algorithms within the digital public space. The current profit-orientation of the few single service providers of social media platforms is accompanied by the dependence on their decisions on the type of possible discourses on the platform as well as the provision of digital spaces where democratic practices can take place. For instance, the current structure and functioning of the platforms favors especially posts that generate many interactions, which is why the polemic language of many right-wing populists works particularly well.
We are of the opinion, that the unrestricted expansion regarding the usage of algorithmic systems is paralleled by growing problems and dangers for the processes and basic principles of democratic societies. Especially the retention of democratic practices and thus the pluralistic discourse and the active learning and consolidation of democratic basic values are exposed to a growing threat.

*Diehl, J, Lehberger, R, Müller, AK & Seibt, P (2019): Germany: AfD Populists Dominate on Facebook – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

What we work on:

We propose a research project that aims at finding solutions that enhance a pluralistic discourse within digital spaces. We will juxtapose problematic aspects of social media platform with possible alternatives that ensure digital processes based on democratic values. Part of the research project shall be a thought experiment workshop, where democratic practices and their translation to digital spaces are developed and discussed.

Where to find our results:

  • Workshop at TUM

Who we are:

Michel, Chiara, Eva, Julia, Dominik

Sounds interesting? Get in touch with us!