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Digital Propaganda, Populism and Polarization

Democracy
Elections
Media
Populism
Internet
Social Media
Communication
P096
Susana Salgado
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Ciências Sociais
Ana Belén Fernández García
Universidad de Granada
Jakob Schwörer
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

Abstract

Recent populist successes in different parts of the world have raised concerns about the impact of digital propaganda and disinformation on political processes and citizens’ attitudes. Several countries witnessed scandals related to the widespread of fake news, hacker interference from foreign countries and the illegal use of the users’ personal data to influence elections, for example. In addition to such ‘communication disorders’ we have also been witnessing an increase of ideological polarization, political antagonism and hate towards different targets (groups and individuals). The Brexit referendum campaign, the 2016 US presidential election or the 2018 Brazilian presidential election are just a few of recent examples illustrating the actual impact of polarization, disinformation and populism on democratic processes. This panel covers both empirical and theoretical research exploring the links between polarization, disinformation, populism and radical attitudes in digital environments. It addresses the links between the flows of fake news and digital propaganda and the proliferation of populist, radical, or even aggressive actors that destabilize democratic institutions and processes. For example, the spread of fake news during democratic processes through different digital platforms, or the impact that specific characteristics of social networks (e.g., ideological echo chambers) may have on the citizens’ attitudes (e.g. hate and polarization).

Title Details
Populist Framing Mechanisms and The Rise of Right-Wing Activism in Brazil View Paper Details
Analysis and Effects of Jihadist Propaganda in the Media in Spain View Paper Details
Dissemination of Fake News in Cross-Platform Perspective: the Hydra of the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Election View Paper Details
Hate in Echo Chambers and Plural Environments: An Analysis of Reddit’s Communities View Paper Details