On June 17 and 18 2021, the 3rd Weizenbaum Conference entitled "Democracy in Flux - Order, Dynamics and Voices in Digital Public Spheres" took place as a hybrid event. The keynote presentations by Helen Margetts, Matthew Hindman and Daniel Ziblatt are now available as video.
In the first keynote of the conference, Prof. Helen Margetts (Oxford Internet Institute) explained how social media enabled "tiny acts" of political participation. These acts, which required little time, effort or money, had the potential to grow into social movements. According to Margetts, these actions should not be categorized as "good" or "bad." Rather, methodological tools are needed to understand all kinds of "tiny actions," including their underlying motives.
Prof. Matthew Hindman (George Washington University) presented the results of a recently published study on visual misinformation on Facebook in the second keynote lecture. According to Hindman, misinformation conveyed through images rather than text would be more persuasive and more likely to be shared on social networks. For example, 23 percent of 1,000 randomly selected picture posts about U.S. politics contained elements of misinformation.
Prof. Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard University) anlysed in the third and last keynote the paradoxical effect of digital technologies on democracy. While the rise of digital media has democratized communication channels, it also opens the door for demagogic and anti-democratic forces to threaten democracy.
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