encore. The annual Magazine on Internet and Society Research, 2020/2021
|Author:||Scheuerman, B. & Bohn, S. (Eds.)|
|Published in:||Berlin: Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.|
We have experienced a highly politicised year, which has once again surpassed the speed of controversy and change of the last decade. Like a magnifying glass, the pandemic has shown how digital tools and platforms have become systemically relevant and essential infrastructure. Regardless of physical distance, we communicate digitally with friends and family, collaborate remotely with colleagues, experience culture online and even avail of medical assistance on our smartphones. But we have also noticed the downsides: there is talk of a demystification of the digital that we are only experiencing because we are so dependent on it. In positive terms, however, digitalisation needs to be intelligently influenced, shaped and improved – not only by commercial actors but by all parts of our society. With increasing pressure from various societal actors, platforms like Twitter and Facebook have begun to adopt a novel role as curators of the content they disseminate. They have started to label obviously false reports – fake news – as such, even when they have been issued by a legitimate head of state. The pandemic in particular has made it crystal clear that platforms have a responsibility, as the information that is shared with millions and by millions of people is not irrelevant. This holds true for health advice, but the same applies to societal questions around peaceful coexistence, equality, or sustainability.