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Media, Markets and Psychology – Structural Conditions of Post-Factual Democracy

May 15, 2018 | 06:00 PM

Public Lecture by Visiting Fellow Mads Vestergaard (University of Copenhagen)

Political misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories are not novelties. However, the digitalization and the infrastructure of the Internet make the production and proliferation of misinformation possible and affordable on a new level and the market conditions and the leading business models in the digital economy have made it profitable to harvest attention no matter the content. The result is a media environment, where misleading (fake) news stories can compete with sound news stories the battle of public attention and – thus – political impact. At the same time, political populism and tribalism are on the rise. This tendency may also – in part – be related to the current media environment in which also narratives feeding on anger and fear and populistic narratives of us versus them are highly successful in getting attention and thus setting the agenda. Both misinformation and tribalism pose threats to civility, the social fabric and democracy itself. To counteract these tendencies, we must understand the mechanisms and structures driving them. What is the connection between tribalism and receptivity to misinformation? Does the current media environment and attention economy of the Internet and social media amplify the psychological and social psychological tendencies to fact resistance and tribalism? How do market conditions, media culture and human psychology and social psychology interact?

Time & Location

May 15, 2018 | 06:00 PM

Freie Universität Berlin
Rost- und Silberlaube, Room KL 32/202
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin