Political concept: computer keyboard with Uprising icon on enter button background, 3D renderingOn Sunday 4th December, a man walked into a crowded Washington D.C. pizzeria with a gun. He wasn’t there to rob the place. He wanted to “self-investigate” reports online that the Democratic party was operating a child sex ring from the basement of the restaurant. The man threatened employees, and at least one shot was reportedly fired before he was taken into custody by police.

The gunman had been duped by fake news stories online, spread by users of Reddit and 4chan. He distrusted mainstream media so much that he felt compelled to commit multiple felonies and risk jail in order to see for himself.

Everyday, people are being bombarded with information online. And, as the so-called “pizzagate” conspiracy demonstrates, not all of that information is accurate. So, is the internet having a detrimental effect on democracy? Are people now more likely to believe salicious “fake news” stories than good, accurate information?

Want to learn more about the impact of the internet on democracy in Europe? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):
google_internet-democracy-2

We had a comment from Hasan, who worries about the threat of “disinformation” being spread through fake news stories (though, in the long run, he is optimistic that people will learn to spot the fakes). How worried should we be?

To get a response, we spoke to Anthony Zacharzewski, Director of the Democratic Society (speaking here in a personal capacity). What would he say to Hasan?

ZacharzewskiI think the internet is a great way of communicating in general, and one of the lessons we’ve learned in the last few months – with the Trump election and Brexit – is that well-presented bad information can drive out badly-presented good information. However, that doesn’t mean the internet is bad for democracy. It just means that good information needs to be presented in more attractive and useful ways.

We’re still at a very early stage in terms of the impact of the internet on democracy. Everybody always says the current election cycle is the first “internet election”. Well, what we’ve seen in the last 6 months is, I think, genuinely the first internet election. We’ve seen new ways of campaigning, and sometimes it’s been positive (such as crowdsourcing policy platforms), and sometimes its been quite negative. But I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the story yet.

I’m sure the institutions looking for truth and accuracy, media partners, all sorts of NGOs and civil society organisations, will use the communications power of the internet to tackle false stories earlier. They’re one or two steps behind at the moment, but they will learn and they will do better. So, I think the internet is a good thing for democracy.

For another perspective, we also put the same question to Róbert Bjarnason, Co-Founder of the Citizens’ Foundation, an Iceland-based NGO founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote electronic collaborative democracy around the globe and to develop the software needed for that purpose. What would he say to Hasan?

robo_profileOverall, I think the internet has had a very positive impact on democracy. The internet allows a wider group of people to be heard; we have a lot more transparency; and it’s easier to spread information (for example, looking at all the leaks that have happened recently). The average citizen knows a lot more about how the world works around them.

In recent years, we’ve had two problems. One is fake news, but I think a bigger problem are so-called ‘echo chambers’. Basically, over past five or six years, since our news feeds have been curated by algorithms, we have started to see much more of a tendency towards showing people what they want to see. The reason for this is that the algorithms are designed to sell you as much advertising as possible, and that means keeping our attention for as long as possible. So, showing news that you like is more profitable.

However, over the last two years it’s gone totally to the extremes. The algorithms are not only showing you news that you’ll like, they are actually showing you fake news that you’ll like. So, it’s actually created a demand for fake news, so that people can click on the advertisements.

In fact, this was exactly the comment we had from Neag, who warned that citizens are retreating into safe bubbles of their own like-minded friends and contacts online. So, is he right? Are we at risk of creating “echo chambers” out of people who share our beliefs and ideologies? And could this ultimately harm democracy, and lead to more combative, less cooperative politics?

To get a reaction, we put Neag’s comment to Anthony Zacharzewski. What did he think?

ZacharzewskiI think there’s a natural tendency for people to cluster with friends online. I’d struggle to say there were many Trump supporters in my Facebook friend group. So, maybe people do like living in their own bubbles online, but then people also live in their own bubbles offline. Your regular friends often share your own views and interests as well. There is definitely a filtering or sorting effect, but I think it’s a normal part of society.

Having said that, it is a good idea to interact with people (and with information) that offers different views from your own. I do think people should try to make an effort to interact with people from across the political spectrum… and I think it’s up to us as citizens to step outside our comfort zones.

Finally, what would Róbert Bjarnason say? Did he see this as a real risk to democracy?

robo_profileAbsolutely. If the world continues to split into ideological camps, with people on the internet only seeing information from people who think exactly like they do, then I think it’s going to be the end of society as we know it. Because society is built on cooperation, and having groups of people with different ideas come together and do things…

The good thing is that this problem is being discussed… I’m quite positive that we can solve this problem. But in the end, if companies and the market can’t deal with this, then government needs to step in.

Has the internet been good for democracy? Has it given us greater access to information (and to politicians)? Or has it harmed democracy by spreading ‘fake news’ stories, and by encouraging people to retreat into bubbles of like-minded friends? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Copyright / BigStockPhoto – mkabakov


166 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Davide Nicoła

    Is the democracy good only if people believe passively the so called “story telling” of their respectively governments/establishments?

    You are worried Instead of being happy for the increase of knowledge and Information sharing among people

    Better choices can be also made with more and better information

  2. Bart Van Damme

    There has always been and will always be “fake news”. Just ask the many victims over the centuries who “were seen” casting spells, blaspheming, and so on. Today too, many people are branded “racist” or “fascist” whenever it suits the newspaper or tv network in question. Internet may be used to spread fake news, but it also allows people to debate and debunk it. Including and especially the state sponsored fake news that so many swallowed without second thought before.

  3. Jicu

    Do you get pay to limit our internet freedom?
    The internet is so restricted how to be bad for democracy?!
    The corporation will win the internet and they will make more many form nothing, restricting the freedom on internet is the steps to an corporatism dictatorship, they already put president including in America.

  4. catherine benning

    Has the internet been bad for democracy?

    The Internet has given us the benefit of being able to find answers to lies and propaganda received via our news media and successive governments.

    So, it has allowed the people freedom. Which is why the Globalists are looking for ways to remove it from our view. In other words, the internet has given us the power to hold government to account. And that leaves them very uncomfortable indeed. They may find, as a result of it, they are rejected from the positions they have used against us for so long, whilst stealing our money from under our noses.

    • Duncan

      Agree completely Catherine.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Catherine Benning
      Well said!

    • Bastian

      Catherine, as usual you hit the nail on the head.
      However, not to forget, the Internet cuts both ways! It also provides those in power with hitherto unconceiveable tools to controle the world.
      With respect to power cyber society doesn’t appear to be better, just different.

  5. Bobi Dochev

    So fake news in FB is bad thing, but propaganda in TV media isn’t?
    Obviously you going to restrict Internet in terms to “safe the democracy” – right? That’s the EU politicians dream!
    Did you already voted the resolution that we can’t insult politicians and parties making a good old school curse equal to terrorism?! It was in the agenda!
    Damn idiots!

  6. Tarquin Farquhar

    Of course not!

    NEXT!

    • EU reform- proactive

      Hallo my island friend. It reminds me on a nervous Sepp Blatter. Next please!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @EU Reform- Proactive
      Guten tag mein freund.

      Rather than ‘NEXT!’ I should have said the more colloquial ‘TAXI!’.

      BTW, I met Blatter once – NOT impressed!

  7. Paul X

    I suppose the internet could be considered good for democracy in that it makes it easier for people to find out who stands for what policies etc but I don’t see the relevance of your lead story about the idiot in the pizzeria?

    That story just proves how bad the internet is because of those out there who are too stupid to seperate fact from fiction. More worrying than one idiot in a pizza shop are all the others of feeble mind who believe all the islamic propaganda over the internet and allow themselves to be radicalised.

    Maybe there should be some sort of intelligence test to get a licence that proves you can “spot the bullsh!t” before you are allowed to access internet? that would certainly weed out most of the Daily Mail readers anyway

    • Duncan

      I think it a bit unfair to single out the poor suckers getting drawn in by “the Islamic propaganda” as you put it (although it would be more accurate to call it political propaganda disguised as religious extremism. You know, since it isn’t actually in keeping with the teachings of the religion in question and the organisation spreading the propaganda is using those they dupe to kill Muslims among others like that wedding that was targeted by a suicide bomber, despite it being a muslim wedding in a muslim community. Oh and the attacks in Iraq and the muslim on muslim violence in Syria, and the fact there were almost definitely muslim casualties in the terrorist attacks in the western world). I’ve seen plenty of propaganda on the internet aimed at making Muslims the target of hatred and discrimination. And Jews, and Christians, and the “wrong kind” of people from the protagonists point of view across the spectrum of humanity in all it’s forms. You think the EDL aren’t radicalized do you? They’ve basically been made to feel scared, leading to an aggressive and often violent attitude towards Muslims, immigrants in general, anyone of an abnormal sexuality or gender, people of a different colour skin and so on. There are many organisations across the world doing this, the EDL is just my local regions largest. Then you have the liberal extremists, being brainwashed into wanting to ban anything and anyone who goes against their way of thinking. Just as dangerous to society as a whole as any other type of extremists, just not individual people’s personal safety due to their dislike of violence. Golliwog for example is seen as racist, rather than a children’s story character that evolved into a series of dolls and even a brand of jam. Liberals hate this character, and the use of the word to describe people of a darker skin tone. The liberals hate it so much in fact the dolls were banned in the UK. But of course, terms like white boy and calling every male of white skin colour (itself not accurate, I’m not white) Ben Affleck is ok with the liberals, you know since you can’t be racist towards white people because they’re not a minority group. They also want people in the UK to not be allowed to fly their own national flag. This type of approach of marginalizing the natives in their own country is part of the ammunition the EDL use to fuel the anger. How on earth could someone who finds the Union Flag, or Saint George’s Cross offensive travel to England where they are official state flags and not expect to have to see them? You can bet your last coin on the fact if someone found the EU flag offensive and complained about it in Brussels where they had decided to move to or take a holiday then nothing would get done about it accept maybe for someone to say something akin to “so why come here then?” And bloody rightly so. Wow ok, gone off topic a little bit here, my point is radicalization happens everywhere and it’s never a good thing.

    • Paul X

      I did consider your comment Duncan but on reflection I think my reference to “Islamic propaganda” is still correct, after all, it is essentially extremists presenting Islam in a “biased and misleading way” (which is a direct quote from the definition of propaganda)
      And I’m not in dispute that the EDL and Looney Left Liberals could also be considered groups that are radicalised, but my initial point still stands that the greatest threat to everyone whatever their personal leaning, is from Islamic Extremists. I’ve yet to see an EDL member or Leftist idiot jump on a plane to a foreign country and start hacking peoples heads off

    • Duncan

      Paul x, while I do not dispute your definition of propaganda, I fail to see how it is relevant to my point. Aka all extremism is bad and despite the claims made by those who would incite violence and hatred these acts have nothing to do with religion. Also, your point about not seeing an edl member go to a foreign country and hacking peoples heads off is rather a mute point. That is, unless you’ve seen one of these so called Islamic extremists do the same. There have been news reports of edl members committing acts of violence and even murder just as there have other extremist groups who claim no affiliation to Islam. I guess the point behind my point is that by singling out one group of extremism you are in fact helping add to the wave of fear that is preventing understanding cooperation and unity. The media may well carry far more of the blame here than you, but i feel it’s important for rational thinking to prevail over fear if we want to reduce the violence rather than inflame it. There are those who wish to inflict harm on our society. These people are born into a muslim culture, we as a religiously tolerant culture have Muslims living amongst us (and so in fact, some of us are muslims). The people who wish to harm our society are trying to make this about religion because at that point they have in fact a potential recruitment source inside our society, situated ideally to be able to harm our society the most. By going along with their claim that this is about religion you add validity to the lie they are perpetuating for their own ends. What’s more is by enabling racist groups such as the edl’s actions to go unopposed vocally, you are saying to Muslims who are part of our culture, you aren’t really one of us so it’s ok if someone beats you are kills you. Which again will make them more susceptible to radicalization. Fact is racist groups are a minority in our culture, so are “Islamic extremists” we have police, intelligence agencies and military whose job it is to prevent/minimise the effects these non conformist aspects of our society have on the rest of our society. I feel it important to let them do their job. I also feel it important that we as citizens do what we can to prevent this isolationism that enables people with an agenda to create sides to have to pick. There are some Muslims in our society doing good work to educate Muslims against extremist ideology and they need our support and encouragement in doing this. Just as I will continue to speak out against white supremacist attitudes in an effort to reduce the edl’s recruiting capability. If at the end of the day these efforts fail and it truly leads to blood on the streets across the whole country, then nobody will have won.

  8. Haris Iasonas Haralabides

    One of the fundamental democratic prerequisites is polyphony. The Internet has given “new wings” to global polyphony hence is of paramount importance to democracy and democratic values.

  9. Pavlos Papathanasiou

    False news are also spread from mainstream media too, however not a single “scholar” has criticised that! Spreading false news should be illegal no matter what the source is! But this doesnt justify any “debate” which seems innocent but it is deliberate about the use of Internet! Your sick and trumbling EU has finished! Each time peoples are asked the answer is NO! If you want to elaborate of this decline and of rejection dont search for ridiculous excuses! Just see the monsterous neoliberal policies that Brussels are imposing upon people and the hunger of the hypocritic elites of globalisation for more money and power on the expense of people.

  10. Ozgur Zeren

    If Western corporate media selling a war based on lies of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and causing deaths of ~1 million people and the rise of ISIS for oil profit hasnt been bad for democracy, Internet hasnt been either.

    The “Fake News” is an escape by Democratic Party and its Neoliberal corporate backers to escape criticism for screwing up last US presidential elections so grandly. In order to avoid addressing their wrongdoing, their failed candidate, and to evade adopting pro-people policies which may upset their corporate-backers, they are trying to blame ANYTHING else – and one of these had been ‘fake news’.

    Reality of the matter is that the news they call fake are major leaks regarding Clinton, DNC wrongdoing, even actual Clinton interviews in which she says something else than what she claims to believe. Even these are being called ‘fake’ by this crowd.

    In their panic, Washington Post even showed a dozen or so alternative news outlets as ‘Fake/Propaganda News’ – these include eminent outlets like truth-out, AlterNet, which regularly feature intellectual giants like Noam Chomsky. Whereas CNN cannot let Chomsky talk for 7 seconds before interrupting him.

    In short, all this is an attempt by a neoliberal segment to evade accountability and shape the narrative like they used to be able to do through corporate media.

    As i wrote in another platform:

    It’s censorship. And its bad.

    Who is the arbiter of truth?

    “Facebook, Twitter Join Network to Tackle Fake News” http://fortune.com/2016/09/13/facebook-twitter-join-first-draft-coalition/

    Google, Facebook, Twitter joined something called ‘First Draft Coallition’ which is set up to tackle ‘fake news’, and they made a list of 30 ‘reliable’ news organizations to use as deciding the truth.

    Social networks unite with global newsrooms to take action against misinformation online – First Draft News (https://medium.com/1st-draft/social-networks-unite-with-global-newsrooms-to-take-action-against-misinformation-online-875a53a8de4b)
    Except the list consists of NYT, Washington Post** and the like – the very corporations which stopped doing journalism in order to push their preferred candidate. Washington Post, which churned out ~16 negative articles about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours and then investigated themselves and smugly found ‘nothing was wrong’, is going to be supplying us the ‘truth’. Or, CNN, who received money from Bahrain, an extremist radical islamist dictatorship to suppress the news about their repression of Arab Spring and paint them in ‘favorable light’, is going to tell us the world.

    “CNN and the business of state-sponsored TV news | Glenn Greenwald ”

    (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/04/cnn-business-state-sponsored-news)

    Incidentally, all of these are the organizations who sold the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq lie for 4–5 years to public. And that Saddam was ‘planning’ something.

    “5 Times Corporate Media Got Caught Publishing Fake News Causing the Death & Suffering of Millions” (http://thefreethoughtproject.com/corporate-media-lies-death-suffering/)

    It wasn’t a one time thing either. A decade earlier than that last lie, they sold an even bigger lie”

    “What is the greatest lie ever told?”

    (https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-greatest-lie-ever-told/answer/Ozgur-Zeren)

    They sold a lie about a concocted, nonexistent atrocity by Iraq soldiers to American public to push 1st Iraq War. Moreover, the lie was concocted by a US PR Firm.

    But what’s inexplicable is this:

    If this ‘Ministry of Truth’ was there back in 2003 then every news blog, person or institution which said that there weren’t WMDs in Iraq would be labeled untrustworthy and would be censored. And what ‘truth’ shown to the world would be that Saddam was ‘planning’ something with his nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
    ……….

    Now these corporate outlets which repeatedly lied, misled and obscured information are to be standards for determining ‘true’ news.

    Its like having Nixon guard the Watergate tapes. Remember how he wasn’t a crook.
    Actually, its worse.

    The list of ‘reliable’ news sources to ‘determine truth’ includes a blog called ‘Bellingcat’, which has been incessantly propagating military-industry complex talking points and policies in topics like Ukraine, Syria etc. To the point of propagating the lie that Syrian Government used chemical weapons, whereas it was confirmed by UN that no such thing happened. Whatever US military industry complex says, this blog reflects it. Basically its John McCain talking. Or, if you would like to go deeper, its Dick Cheney.

    Now these 2 social networks and search giant are going to use the exact same outfit that lied to entire world about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and helped kill ~1 million people, to determine the ‘truth’.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/11/18/what-to-do-about-fake-news/

    ……….

    It’s not only inexplicably wrong, its also extremely dangerous. This amounts to basically neutralizing the power Internet brought to non-corporate outlets, institutions and personas, and ordinary citizens to do journalism and spread actual truth as opposed to whatever the corporate-state complex would want people to believe.

    Traditional media was very upset with Internet circumventing their monopoly on ‘truth’ and hampering their majority shareholders’ profits, and were looking for a way to take things under control. Attacks against net neutrality were part of this – if the ISPs owned partly by media companies controlled the backbone, they could censor anyone they wanted privately by charging them more and that would put the traditional media complex in an advantage. It didn’t work.

    But thanks to the ‘fake news outrage’ which the DNC, Clintonites and mislead progressives helped Media to pump, they succeeded.

    It just can’t be that Democratic Party has lost touch with the public and their neoliberal policies are not wanted. It just can’t be that Clinton was a disastrous, horrible candidate.

    It must be something else. Anything else. Just make it something else.
    And thanks to that, now we have censorship.

    …………

    The funniest part of it all is the presence of ‘Bellingcat’ in the list of ‘trustworthy’ news organizations.

    Why not give the mic directly to Dick Cheney?

    ………..

    Note that how no non-Anglo-American or non-satellite outlet is in the list of ‘reliable’ news organizations. Nothing from India, Russia, China, even South America.
    Corporate-State establishment in the West was looking for a means for a while to cope up with the unreported news which outlets like RT were reporting, and now they are using this ‘fake news outrage’ to enforce their solution. Its no coincidence that Obama and Merkel together blabbered about ‘fake news’ and the need to ‘supervise internet’ in Obama’s Germany visit – actually Merkel said the last bit, but these are practically the same.

    Now, US won’t have to ban RT like how some (like State Dept., McCain crowd) were asking for and won’t have to shatter the illusion of free speech. Censorship will be auto-applied by those whom we trusted with our news since traditional Media has deceived us in delivering them.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Ozgur Zeren
      WHY are your posts so SHORT?

      Please don’t restrict yourself!!

  11. Oz Zeren

    This ‘Fake news’ stampede and ‘suggestions’ about trying to censor internet is popping everywhere in concert.

  12. John Marcogliese

    Like everything it is used by all sides : good education and bad like isis and other radical groups of all stripes.

    • EU reform- proactive

      Carlo, NEVER give up! It’s always worth to use your vote- but “strategically”.

  13. EU reform- proactive

    Bad for the EU politbureau, their apparatchiks & all politicians- very good for us folks! Brilliant for direct democracy. Basically, the “people” shall govern. Please folks, check out your country’s SUPREME Constitution!

  14. Antonio Pinto Caldeira

    Internet IS the sheer representation of democracy nowadays. That’s the reason why it is being targeted and there are so many tries to control it.

  15. AJ Nemec

    Wow… you at work only suggesting that because the very social media you praised they helped you win elections is now allowing your opposition win because they are better at it then you. Your ideology is crap… the internet is not bad for democracy. Maybe you should rethink your false narratives and race baiting

  16. Siriano Marcoccia

    whenever people have the chance to freely express their opinions democracy is in good shape and safe. ….otherwise it’s in great danger. ….

  17. Gordon Webster

    The Internet, and Social Media, is protecting democracy from the Manipulators used by politicians and governments. The “Persuaders,” as James Harvey euphemistically calls them.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Roberto Bonafè
      Agreed!

  18. matteo

    well, certenally internet has influenced our life. Now we depend from all technology tools and so this is dangerous because people can cheat us very easly. so watch out!

  19. Gianfranco Gattini

    internet is not bad for democracy but bad for stupidity..you can discover very quickly if somebody is stupid ..same way if some democracy is not a true democracy You can discover it…

  20. Bódis Kata

    Internet, esp Web.2 has reduced the control over media; the information flows more freely and openly and that includes sometimes BS, too. But in the end, truth prevails. Usually.

    I would give Wikileaks the Nobel Peace Prize for uncovering all that hidden dirt. The Internet, Web2, Wiki — they have become another aspect of the checks and balances, and apparently often more effective than the traditional ones.

  21. Brian Gill

    You can pursue the truth, gain better perspectives on the issues and evaluate for yourself the competing claims of a wide range of opinion. Cutting out the filter of the controlled (((media))). Thulean perspective…. Interesting, A Holtz … legend. BLACK PIGEON SPEAKS, American Renaissance, kai murros, Richard Spencer, dr William Pierce…. Awesome, info wars, the golden one, the greatest story never told, justice for Germans …. The list is endless.

    • Nadia Dereguardati

      NO, IT EXPOSED THE FAKE “DEMOCRACY! people is not stupid!

    • Jean-Daniel Zomou

      The people make the democracy.. are we stupid?

  22. Satsuma Angel

    Lack of education is bad for democracy. Educated people generally see an internet story with caution. I bet the pizza raider was pretty dumb.

  23. Blas Camps Guillamon

    It’s bad ,information on The Internet is biased,lots of people don’t have enough knowledge to judge what it,s Good information or biased one.

  24. catherine benning

    As the Daily Mail has been held up on here as the readers low life lying newspaper by previous posters, how long will it be before the suggestion is,’ Are Newspapers Bad for Democracy.’ Especially when they dare to expose reality that is.

    Here we read the German people are being lied to about the devastating effect mass immigration is having on their society, whilst their government give them a different line. Of course this is not to imply the UK is not doing exactly the same on a great many issues. War in Aleppo being one of the main misleading events on our news. TV as well as newspapers.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4011046/KATIE-HOPKINS-Angela-Merkel-going-migrant-boats.html

    So, I suggest the question on this forum should be, ‘Are governments who repeatedly promote bare faced lies bad for democracy.’

    That way, we, the people, can make an enormous and massive push for Direct Democracy, Swiss style, to ensure the country we live in follows the line of citizens and tax payers wishes rather than we the activists’ who take up positions of government under false pretences.

    • Paul X

      Catherine, It’s maybe a bit strong to use the word “lying”…. The only paper I can recall that deliberately prints lies is the Sport, but 99.9% of people know that its stories (double decker bus on the moon?) are complete tosh and take it in the spirit its intended
      Far more dangerous and what a lot of mainstream media does is take something factual and then use it as a basis for fabricating grossly exaggerated half truths to further their political leaning and this is what papers like the Mail and the Express are particularly good at doing and why a lot of people reading these papers start to believe all the hype

  25. Lucian Bob

    NEVER!!! is the SAVER of democracy!!! Bcause it can’t B put under control!!!

    • catherine benning

      @ Paul X

      And of course ‘fake news’ is not used by the Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and so on, is pit? No of course not. Only by papers that are openly anti Remain, or,, less anti Russian, or, whatever doesn’t suit the Globalist agenda.

      Please give us a break. You are full of it. Fake news is rampant on just about every major issue across the West, and often proven to be so. Which, of course, is conveniently ignored by our wonderful tellers of truth, the BBC, Sky, ITV and the ethnic Channel 4. I have never seen such a poor case of trying to dupe public opinion by US/UK/EU propaganda as we see presently. It’s funnier than ‘Yes, Minister’ in its present form.

      You need to get real and stop playing the Global game. How much are they paying you?

    • Paul X

      Catherine, I’m not claiming that any media source is free from manipulating facts, just that rags like the Daily Mail and Express are particularly blatant in what they do

      Unfortunately people on here seem to fixate on media such as this and take their views as typical of the UK population which is why there is an endless stream of idiots claiming anyone who voted Brexit is a rampant Xenophobe

  26. Lucian Bob

    that day when “they” will try 2 put the net and the FB and the others under control, it will really B the death of the so called “democracy”!!!

  27. Lucian Bob

    in fact, all the nightmare on earth is due 2 the logic of the profit!!! in a world where the “profit” and the “beeing rich”, will b banned, the human race it will become a “civilisation”!!!

  28. Lucian Bob

    the dusk of the “profit dinosaures” it will come soon, there’s no other way!!! this way or the end!!!

  29. Ariel Salvo Caliban

    internet is the best thing that happened to mankind since a very long time. Long live a free internet without censorship!

  30. Guillem Gilabert Castaño

    No, it hasn’t. It’s lkely one of the best things to have ever happened to our society, a place where people can make their voices heard outside the biased and bought mainstream media. And it’s glorious.

  31. Moun Specter

    Ce dont on parlait cette aprèm 🤗 (bon l’exemple de Hollande comme trending politician en moins) MMina Mgd

    • Mina Mgd

      Ahhh au moins on se commence à se poser des questions, c’est positif!

  32. Martin Wiseman

    I don’t think the internet could be any worse than totally biased TV channels like the BBC, Sky, Channel 5 and others where during the referendum they didn’t invite a single guest in favour of Brexit, their polls were nothing more than propaganda and their so called ‘experts’ smuggly predicted a landslide for remain and Clinton. They are now busy lying saying the terms of Brexit weren’t clearly explained when even on their own shows David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson and members of every political party from Labour to the SNP stated clearly that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market.

    • Steve Handley

      How exactly did Boris Johnson state anything on the BBC’s “own shows”, when according to you “they didn’t invite a single guest in favour of Brexit”?

    • Steve Handley

      How was the impact of Brexit on Single Market access “stated clearly”, when the leave campaign offered variously the Norwegian model, the Swiss model, the not-yet-defined custom UK deal, even the Albanian model?

    • Paul X

      No one said the impact was clearly stated, predicting the impact would be an impossibility particularly when having to deal with 27 countries who pretend to have solidarity but in reality each is pushing their own agenda
      The “models” were just suggestions during discussions, there is not a menu of single market membership options where you can pick the one you want, the UK will either negotiate its own unique model or it will trade under WTO the choice is that simple……and considering the UK’s trading position with the EU is much stronger than Norway, Switzerland (or even Albania) as long as our negotiating team is competent enough, the UK model should be far superior to any previous ones

    • Sopi Andrei

      Even NOW he government and the people of Britain don’t know what Brexit is suppose to mean, what are you talking about, Martin?

    • Angela Ewart

      yes we do. It means taking back control of our borders, our laws, leaving the single market, stop paying into the gravy train eu, at whatever cost. Is that clear enough?

    • Steve Handley

      Angela Ewart it would be clear enough if you actually were capable of speaking for all 17 million leave voters, but you’re not. There were voters for whom “leave at any cost” was not acceptable, but “leave with one of the Single Market access models that the leave campaign said we would have” was ok. How do you know how many wanted what, other than *some sort* of exit?

  33. Alex Browne

    ‘Democracy’ and ‘the EU’ aren’t interchangeable terms. Please correct

  34. Siva Nesan Jesu

    It is a pertinent and interesting question for the intellectual. By Internet, this lot has in mind intellectual source and feed of information and knowledge. Unfortunately, it cannot largely be so, so long as Islam, dhimmi Christianity, and irresponsible Left, Liberal, and Democrats are there in the world, rather concentrated in Europe..

  35. Steve Wale

    What is bad for democracy is politicians who will not listen to their people not the internet

  36. George

    The mainstream media propagates fake news all the time, from false rape accusations to false news about countries possesing nuclear weapons to covering up corruption cases of mainstream politicians. Before condemning the internet, it should watch itself.

    • EU reform- proactive

      Hmmm……..why not answer the forum question- instead of attacking the “forum”? BTW: what would the right analogy be according to you Max?

  37. Mark

    Yes, all these filthy unwashed muggles being able to communicate globally and access an enormous variety of information, research and views is absolutely terrible.

    Much better they read carefully crafted lies in newspapers and on state sponsored media etc.

  38. Rory O'Brien

    Interesting article. Some of the comments, especially from the guy in Rome, are really trite. You cannot argue with alt right because there is NO argument, you blockheads

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Marco Antonio González
      Don’t forget to add Euronews and Fox News BTW…

  39. Christian Scotti

    Internet is a powerful tool to spread not verified news. So more than this it is a powerful tool to spread emotions and often vent frustrations. In all of this a virtual “truth” grows up and based on that people votes.

    • EU reform- proactive

      Christian, while partly true, “powerful not verified” (without voters consent) political decisions ENACTED by a mix of “non verified” democratic representatives and processes on our behalf are seen (by some- or maybe the majority?) to be worse than the varied personal OPINIONS voiced in e-social media- being harmless and having no (legal) effect.

      Why are governments or the EU dragging their feet from using the latest “electronic tools” to courageously modernise a voter’s friendly “direct democratic system”?

      Why does the establishment believe instead it’s safer in feeding “one directionally” THEIR neoliberal pc decisions & agenda onto voters using the internet liberally & any other media outlets who eagerly support such one way traffic?

      For “those” the multidirectional internet use is bad & a burden for THEIR- “one way democratic agenda”.

  40. Mirino Cameron

    On the contrary. It is a valuable platform for international exchange of information and opinions. The info is more often than not corroborated by authentic film and photographs. When one can no longer rely on the media, FB, for example, becomes a precious alternative.
    An exemplary candidate for the US presidential elections, shouldn’t have any problems with the truth. Needless to say, Clinton is far from exemplary.

  41. Luis Marchal

    Sure it is . People give same importance to the info published on the guardian than the one published by a blog paid by Putin. We need info about fake info !

    • Oz Zeren

      “blog paid by Putin”

      Find one such blog. Concocted statements from US corporate-state complex aside. They were the ones who sold iraq war on lies of wmds.

    • Yvan Van Driessche

      Whole Western MSM is owned by the neo liberal elite who rule (want to rule) the whole world. We have seen how the MSM was as one block behind Hillary…and then complaining that there is a blog that may have been payed by Putin. Let’s act normal.

    • Luis Marchal

      It is relatively new but it is sadly true

    • EU reform- proactive

      Luis, the link of this “CEPA”: http://www.exit-planning-institute.org/ is surely more credible than the “Washington club” you refer to- who only pushes “The American interest & NATO”- obediently supported by the EURO-crats?

  42. Luca Carrozzo

    one is zero, the infinity of information is like the absence of information.
    Face it, sad but true.

  43. Andrew Mather

    If you want to trust information from those with an agenda, with the money and resources to own, direct or restrict the media, then the only hope for an alternative source is one that is not and cannot be controlled. The Internet used to be that, but recognising the threat, governments are now squeezing it tighter and tighter. I’d rather have the burden of separating the wheat from the chaff, than be fed only chaff.

  44. Peter Matern

    The problem is not the www, in the contrary it makes people aware what is going on without being influenced by the government owned TV stations and press. Yes it is very bad for our undemocratic politicians since the people exchange their views and have a platform to raise their concerns and worries. The problem is, that most of the elderly generation is holding on their voting behaviour and are cheated still by then political elite, due to the fact that they only receive their information via the manipulated press. To summarise, not the www is the problem the ruling politicians are.

  45. Luísa Cunha Ventura Gagean

    Of course it is better for real Democracy. Otherwise we would not be critics of the Ditactorship, of the politically correct. We are fed up of the mainstream and the establishment.

  46. eusebiomanuelvestiaspecurto

    I bet it´s good to know that the election of Trump was to drain the swamp was a vote for Putin to infect him freedom expression and voting right

  47. Andre L

    Personally, it’s very frustrating to see a lot of bad things happening and Social Justice a two sword knife. If you see the importance of this message please bring to discussion. While we are changing the global market and creating facilities, with not as much obligations, responsibilities, intertwined with the good practices of this concept. Than we are running to something not good as we expect. As I posted here before I can see a lot o #ponzi schemes/Financial Pyramid, SCAMS, HYIP and the classic cryptoscams, and this is running HERE in EURO ZONE. The only thing I see Is the some National Bank releasing warning -> Do you think that solves the problem? Please go check this scams (Geteasy, gobets, DFRF Enterprises, TelexFree etc etc) and investigate how many years they operated in many European countries with no justice to lock them in jail in the first place, or at least a court to block them to scam here. The big issue starts when the pyramid is feeding their accounts and the money goes to a money laundry, or a financial paradise.

    Worst, some of this pyramids are not even physically here. It’s a internet scam called Multi Level Marketing (MLM)

    The latest one, Onecoin (crypton coin scam) http://behindmlm.com/companies/onecoin/bank-of-hungary-calls-out-onecoin-pyramid-scheme/

    “Another day, another European regulator warns about OneCoin without actually doing anything about it. The latest regulatory warning against OneCoin is another from the Central Bank of Hungary.”

    If you need detailed information, feel free to contact me.

  48. George

    Has the internet been bad for democracy?

    Internet is a communication tool. Like telephone, television, newspaper can it be bad for humanity/democracy? depend’s how you use the tool. Can a hammer be bad? Depends how you use it.

  49. Karolina

    Yes, it has been. It has given a free platform to people that abuse democracy and freedom of speech, either by spreading propaganda or abuse at others and our democracy has not had the strength to stand up to such behaviours and violations. There is confusion as to what freedom of speech actually entails, what is fact, what fiction and further what is a conspiracy theory meant to appeal to the poorly educated. Military jihad uses the internet widely for example. It has also helped child exploitation and sexual crime.

    The internet is just like a knife. It can either be a useful tool or a fatal weapon…

    • Graziano Paul Mare

      Russia is fake too and a mafia country. People were never really free, you always had masters , criminals ruling you. Zars, Lenin,Stalin and Putin.

    • Mario Todorov

      I dont understand whats conection here with Russia. We talk about EU.

  50. Marko Martinović

    Liberal main stream media was spreading fake news and propaganda long time now. It has come to this that law and people are being sacrificed for political correctness. Fake news was used to get contries in to EU. So much lies and deception If EU continues on this path, it will fall appart.

  51. Julia Hadjikyriacou

    Firstly #pizzagate happened because authorities refused to investigate those dodgy emails. You cannot call a public demand for an enquiry fake news. The Internet is a must have for democracy. People need more truth, more in-depth information with evidence and ethical action to back it up. The Internet highlights inconsistencies, unethical decisions and also truth and facts. It means those elected to serve the people and spend their collective money from taxes must make responsible, ethical and pro-people decisions or else face their wrong-doings going viral.

  52. Michael Šimková

    Stupidity harms democracy. If people are smart enough to run a country they ought to be smart enough to tell an editorial opinion from an objective fact. People lack critical thinking skills and the media cater for it.

  53. Hr Tom Mosen

    no the goverments have harmed democracy by leaking fake news, so cover over their lies and thievery

  54. Daniel Parvanov

    Liberal media want to be only media so they try to impose censorship on anything that do not fit their narrative… that’s why we get that fake news blames… DJT got elected not because fake news but cause people got brains,… when you see that where is negative news for both candidates at the same time but one negative news is get 23 times more air time by MSM … Smart people start to smell something fishy …

  55. Hr Tom Mosen

    no the goverments have harmed democracy by leaking fake news, to cover over their lies, wars, and thievery

  56. Milo Kobalicek

    Fake news are here for long times, internet just make it spreading much faster, with bigger impact and mainly – anybody can create ten website referencing each other, with tens fake news. I think there should be some initiative, which will uncover fakes news, does not matter if from hateful people, populists, those masked by independent media or establishment newspaper.

  57. Bódis Kata

    WikiLeaks is the most effective form of “checks and balances”. They should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

  58. Romain Demoustiez

    harmed ? It has not harmed. merely changed the way things should be done in a more démocratic direction. But as always, true démocraty is seen as an harm

  59. Veselin Kukenski

    Not sure if troll, should we report? On a serious note, the media that you insist should be trusted, has been used for propaganda for far too long. From refusing to cover a story to adding a heavy political load onto it – you name it, they’ve done it. They deserve nothing but the righteous flame of condemnation.

  60. Matthew Wolfbane

    Main stream media had already been long tainted by political and corporate interests, scarcely hiding their bias in reporting as was.
    Why should the Internet be blamed for offering more channels and opportunities for independent reporting?

  61. Любомир Иванчев

    Actually, the main damage is done by mainstream media who distribute the fake news found on the internet without any serious source checking. So the main issue here is source checking.

  62. Franck Néo Legon

    Main stream media is a propaganda weapon against the peoples, for the profit of the richest fews, Big Oil, Weapon Industry, Financial Corps, and their politicians vassals. Everybody knows it.

  63. Stephen Challen

    Has main stream media damaged democracy by spreading fake news stories for decades? The reason everyone is raising this question is that they had such a strong belief that Hillary Clinton had ‘bought’ the election and had the main stream media on her side that she had and could only win. The voters responded ! I’m not pro Trump, but I’m equally not pro Clinton either. What I am glad about is that the political elite and the media have been shown spending more money and controlling the main stream media no longer wins elections.

  64. Carles Lizondo Osset

    Every powerful device or technology has potentially damage power. Internet is one of them. The problem is not technology but bad people!

  65. Giarris Yfantopoulos

    Let me ask that question to my social media and see what other people think…

  66. Namma Jeff

    A huge part of Democracy is the right to exercise freedom of speech and the Internet gives us opportunities to do that. In regards to fake news stories, every person has the ability to judge the validity of information online and if they fail to do so, it’s because they’re stupid.

  67. Σπύρος,Διονυσης

    i think internet is just a way of expressing yourself in various ways. It can be dangerous but when people learn to be able to see its downsides they will be able to understand its benefits too.To sum up internet is not bad for democracy if used correctly and with responsibility

  68. erhkamila

    we agree with giarris yfantopoulos.. :*

  69. Iwn+Eua

    The Internet has given us the benefit of being able to find answers to lies and propaganda received via our news media and successive governments.

    So, it has allowed the people freedom. Which is why the Globalists are looking for ways to remove it from our view. In other words, the internet has given us the power to hold government to account. And that leaves them very uncomfortable indeed. They may find, as a result of it, they are rejected from the positions they have used against us for so long

  70. Shreya

    I don’t think a huge part of Democracy is the right to exercise freedom of speech and the Internet gives us opportunities to do that. In regards to fake news stories, every person has the ability to judge the validity of information online and if they fail to do so, it’s because they’re stupid.

    • Namma Jeff

      What an original opinion!

  71. Pacooo

    The downside to the widespread use of the internet is that people often come across false or inaccurate information that can often be misleading. Moreover people often calumniate others, especially those that have the power to rule others

  72. A_Strange_Idea

    No, but it is important for users to be more educated on how to filter real news from propaganda, and that should be the responsibility of every school.

  73. Spiros Sarlis-Giorgos Rebouskos

    Has the internet been bad for democracy?

    We think that internet is not bad for democracy at all. But the opposite. Internet has a positive effect on democracy for many reasons.
    In the past that internet had not been discovered people hardly found a solution to their problems. Now it is easier to tell your problem and find solution.
    Furthermore, with internet people can be informed properly only from trust and accurate websites.
    However, nowadays it is very easy to come across with false information because the freedom that internet gives have exceed its limits!
    So, anyone can use the internet for any purpose either right or wrong!

  74. Anastasia, Areti

    I don’t really think that Internet has been harmful for democracy. Besides, everyone has the right to express views and to tell things even if these are wrong.

  75. Thanasis Pantelis - Dimitris Rantzos

    Well, at some incidents it happens. But not all the time. Missinformation can be included everywhere, even on the TV.

  76. Konstantinos Biskemis - Stayros

    We think that Internet is for everyone. Definitely internet everyone can his own view tell. Sometimes the internet has informations which haw a badly impact to the Democracy.

  77. George Priftis-panagiotis nst

    The internet is a platform that promotes people to express their opinion.Therefore to our mind the web enhances democracy.

  78. Zbigniew Jankowski

    Due to the worldwide communication effect we need to redefine many terms we use daily, including democracy. Only then we’ll have common ground allowing us to distinguish our diversity.

  79. Marko Martinović

    We had only illusion of democracy. Now peoples voices can be heard trough media propaganda and brainwashing. Now we might actually get democracy

  80. Bobi Dochev

    Democracy? Where it is? I haven’t seen it!
    Pity for you, бут the best explanation, I’ve read, why there is no democracy was written by Muammar Gaddafi – such an irony!

  81. Bobi Dochev

    Democracy? Where it is? I haven’t seen it!
    Pity for you, бут the best explanation, I’ve read, why there is no democracy was written by Muammar Gaddafi – such an irony!

  82. Max Berre

    If the democracy cannot survive the spread of the internet, is it really a democracy?

  83. Jeremy Bornstein

    despite what leftoids may think,Steve Bannon and Raheem Kassam have strengthened democracy and transparency

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