The
dynamic and participatory nature of digital media has created a multi-sided
platform for new forms of political involvements. By new forms of political
involvements I meant new concepts which become more prominent after the 2010
Arab Spring like citizen journalism, online activism, fake news, computational
propaganda and aggressive micro-targeting. Some of the new forms of political
participations have positive impact on democracy while others don’t. For the
purpose of this analysis I will focus more on the rise of fake news.

Of
course, the 2016 US presidential campaign experienced a wide range of
unprecedented issues that included, among others, widely circulated ‘fake news’
stories (Silverman, 2016), the increased prominence of populist rhetoric among
candidates (Oliver & Rahn, 2016), and the pivotal role that social media
seemed to play in sustaining support for populist candidates among voters
(Kriesi, 2014; Tufekci, 2015). One explanatory narrative that quickly emerged
was that social media, by acting as portals of shared information determined to
be sought (algorithmically or otherwise) by users, may have helped Trump win by
cultivating ideological filter bubbles that lacked cross-cutting information
(Baer, 2016; McCormick, 2016b; Newton, 2016; Pariser, 2011).

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Indeed,
the days and weeks after the election were marked by regular coverage of social
media propagating ‘fake’ campaign news (Parkinson, 2016; Welch, 2016), creating
the psychological profiles for targeting certain voters (McKenzie, 2016),
intensifying ideologically charged or partisan feelings (Herrman, 2016), or
even influencing the election outcome itself (BBC Trending, 2016; Hooton, 2016;
Isaac, 2016; Isaac & Ember, 2016; Lapowksy, 2016). Furthermore, in the
months since Trump took office, the argumentation over fake news has only
intensified, as have analyses suggesting tightly linked chains of ideologically
shaped information flows and filter bubbles where individuals intentionally or
unintentionally self-select into media coverage that is ideologically
monolithic, patently false, or a combination of both (Benkler, Faris, Roberts,
& Zuckerman, 2017).

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