In M. A. M. Gansinger & Ayman Kole (eds.), Vortex of the Web. Potentials of the online environment. Hamburg: pp. 15-40 (2018)

Martin A. M. Gansinger
Al-Akhawayn University
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.
Keywords Digital Media, Democracy, Political Campaigning, Populism, Public Opinion, Big Data, Micro-Targeting, Facebook, Cambridge Analytica
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Media and the Crisis of Democracy: Rethinking Aesthetic Politics.Jaeho Kang - 2010 - Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 57 (125):1-22.
The Media and the Crisis of Democracy: Rethinking Aesthetic Politics.Jaeho Kang - 2010 - Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 57 (124):1-22.
The Place of the Media in Popular Democracy.Richard D. Anderson - 1998 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 12 (4):481-500.
New Directions of Internet Activism in Egypt.Randa Aboubakr - 2013 - Communications 38 (3):251-265.
Big Data, Small Media.Grant Bollmer - 2014 - Cultural Studies Review 20 (2).


Added to PP index

Total views
294 ( #32,371 of 2,454,544 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #42,288 of 2,454,544 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes