Summary of Threats

The opportunities of digital media, while still apparent, appear to have been suppressed by the sheer weight of fake news, filter bubbles, populism, polarisation, hate speech, trolls and bots, that have emerged from the concentration of power in a small group of private organisations seeking to maximise profits. Digital platforms initially celebrated for their democratic possibilities have transformed into anti-democratic power centres through the collection and exploitation of users attention and data. These privately owned platforms have largely escaped public oversight or regulation over their ability to harness this new power for commercial or political gain.

The question is what can policymakers do to re-calibrate? Are there empirically tested public policies and approaches that can ensure digital media works to strengthen and deepen democracy?