Internet and social media have opened the gates for citizens to contribute to public debate and deprived journalists of their previously powerful gatekeeper role. In the early years of internet diffusion, science and politics discussed this development as a promising opportunity to empower citizens to participate in politics and make democracy work better. Meanwhile, after many suspected propaganda attacks and a spate of hate speech and incivility in social media, the dark side of this gatekeeper-less media world became apparent, too.
In the first Berlin-based event of this year’s joint speaker series between Freie Universität Berlin and Indiana University, which is also part of the Berlin Science Week 2017, Martin Emmer (FUB) and John Paolillo (IU) will discuss how political content is transmitted and promoted on YouTube, contextualize the complex networks of propaganda and conspiracy, and explore potential remedies to the spread of hate-speech through social media. Martin Emmer will focus on the consequences of the digital transformation of public sphere for modern democracy and outline opportunities for dealing with problems like hate-speech and propaganda using the example of a new research project on hate-speech analysis at Freie Universität Berlin. John Paolillo will report on the current state of an ongoing large-scale multi-year project of content and social network analysis on YouTube. The researchers are observing two predominant streams of content, both dating back to YouTube's early years: a broad entertainment genre with music and music videos at its center, and political content, with conspiracy theories, current events and news journalism as its focus. These streams are punctuated by changes in technologies, formats and external events throughout our 12-year reconstructed history of YouTube.
The Freie Universität Berlin - Indiana University joint speaker series aims at bringing together scholars from both institutions to discuss current topics of global politics, stir scientific dialogue and research initiatives and trigger public debate.
Indiana University Europe Gateway
CIEE Global Institute
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