This chapter aims to direct attention to the political dimension of the social media age.
Although current events like the Cambridge Analytica data breach managed to raise awareness for the
issue, the systematically organized and orchestrated mechanisms at play still remain oblivious to most.
Next to dangerous monopoly-tendencies among the powerful players on the market, reliance on
automated algorithms in dealing with content seems to enable large-scale manipulation that is applied for
economical and political purposes alike. The successful replacement of traditional parties by movements
based on personality cults around marketable young faces like Emmanuel Macron or Austria’s Sebastian
Kurz is strongly linked to products and services offered by an industry that simply provides likes and
followers for cash. Inspired by Trump’s monopolization of the Twitter-channel, these new political
acteurs use the potential of social media for effective message control, allowing them to avoid
confrontations with professional journalists. In addition, an extremely active minority of organized
agitators relies on the viral potential of the web to strongly influence and dictate public discourse –
suggesting a shift from the Spiral of Silence to the dangerous illusion of a Nexus of Noise.