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Five Pieces You Should Probably Read On: Fake News and Filter Bubbles

Five Pieces You Should Probably Read On: Fake News and Filter Bubbles

  This is the second post in a series that will uncover great writing by faculty and students at the Oxford Internet Institute, things you should probably know, and things that deserve to be brought out for another viewing. This week: Fake News and Filter Bubbles! Fake news, post-truth, “alternative facts”, filter bubbles — this […]

Five Pieces You Should Probably Read On: The US Election

  This is the first post in a series that will uncover great writing by faculty and students at the Oxford Internet Institute, things you should probably know, and things that deserve to be brought out for another viewing. This week: The US Election. This was probably the nastiest Presidential election in recent memory: awash […]

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Of course social media is transforming politics. But it’s not to blame for Brexit and Trump

After Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, 2016 will be remembered as the year of cataclysmic democratic events on both sides of the Atlantic. Social media has been implicated in the wave of populism that led to both these developments. Attention has focused on echo chambers, with many arguing that social media users exist […]

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Is Social Media Killing Democracy?

This is the big year for computational propaganda — using immense data sets to manipulate public opinion over social media. Both the Brexit referendum and US election have revealed the limits of modern democracy, and social media platforms are currently setting those limits. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook now provide a structure for our political lives. We’ve […]

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger! What part did social media play in 2016 US e­lection?

Commentators have been quick to ‘blame social media’ for ‘ruining’ the 2016 election in putting Mr Donald Trump in the White House. Just as was the case in the campaign for Brexit, people argue that social media has driven us to a ‘post-truth’ world of polarisation and echo chambers. Is this really the case? At […]

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Do Finland’s digitally crowdsourced laws show a way to resolve democracy’s “legitimacy crisis”?

There is much discussion about a perceived “legitimacy crisis” in democracy. In his article The Rise of the Mediating Citizen: Time, Space, and Citizenship in the Crowdsourcing of Finnish Legislation, Taneli Heikka (University of Jyväskylä) discusses the digitally crowdsourced law for same-sex marriage that was passed in Finland in 2014, analysing how the campaign used […]

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Digital Disconnect: Parties, Pollsters and Political Analysis in #GE2015

Digital data generated during election campaigns are a valuable – but underused – source of information for political parties, pollsters and political analysts alike. They contain signals of what political parties are doing, how they are being received, and what people are thinking and talking about. The OII’s Helen Margetts and Scott Hale discuss how use of digital tools and social media by the two largest parties both, in different ways, illustrate a disconnect between the tightly controlled party campaigns, and the electorate on social media. These differences could lend a clue to why the opinion polls throughout the UK’s GE2015 campaign got it so wrong, and provide signposts for parties seeking to rebuild their relatioship with their supporters after this surprising election.

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Finnish decision to allow same-sex marriage “shows the power of citizen initiatives”

In a pivotal vote today, the Finnish parliament has voted in favour of removing references to gender in the country’s marriage law, making it possible for same-sex couples to get married. OII Research fellow Vili Lehdonvirta argues that the decision it is also a milestone for another reason: it is the first piece of “crowdsourced” legislation on its way to becoming law in Finland. The Finnish citizen initiative system aims to make people feel that they can make a difference. This decision not only advances equality and fairness, it also helps define the role of crowdsourcing in Finnish parliamentary decision making.

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Past and Emerging Themes in Policy and Internet Studies

What kind of research does the journal Policy & Internet publish? Editor Vili Lehdonvirta approaches the question from two angles; first, by examining the question empirically, through a brief thematic analysis of the articles published since its launch in 2009; second, by considering what kind of research the journal is likely to publish in the future, both in terms of what kind of trends can be seen emerging in policy and Internet research, as well as in terms of what challenges outlined in the journal’s original vision that continue to be pertinent today. Read the full editorial.

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