Review of Cass Sunstein's latest book, #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media. Sunstein in the spouse of former UN Ambassador Samantha Power.
DC: It’s clear to me there are some sharp questions about the regulatory framework governing social media and the online world in general, questions regulators have been pretty keen to avoid so far. It’s time for them to do so now.Call for some form of censorship of social media to reduce social divisiveness by reweaving the social fabric from above?
The Enlightened Economist
The polarised republic
Diane Coyle | freelance economist and a former advisor to the UK Treasury. She is a member of the UK Competition Commission and is acting Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation
Here is the publisher's blurb on #Republic:
As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It's no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It's also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect. Welcome to the age of #Republic. In this revealing book, Cass Sunstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, shows how today's Internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization, and even extremism--and what can be done about it. Thoroughly rethinking the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet, Sunstein describes how the online world creates "cybercascades," exploits "confirmation bias," and assists "polarization entrepreneurs." And he explains why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences, and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy. In response, Sunstein proposes practical and legal changes to make the Internet friendlier to democratic deliberation. These changes would get us out of our information cocoons by increasing the frequency of unchosen, unplanned encounters and exposing us to people, places, things, and ideas that we would never have picked for our Twitter feed. #Republic need not be an ironic term. As Sunstein shows, it can be a rallying cry for the kind of democracy that citizens of diverse societies most need.