The Impact of New Media Paradigms on Digital Activism and the Battle of #FakeNews

By: Sascha Funk  

At the moment we see a shift of traditional media paradigms especially when it comes to digital activism which, once it reaches a mass following, often times gets labeled as ‘fake news’. This research focuses on determining how and if social media is used effectively in regards to not only raise awareness but also creating long lasting digital activism and how ‘fake news’ has become a problem that needs to be addressed and debunked, particularly how this influences democratic opinion shaping. The internet has radically transformed communication. More than ever before successful communication depends on the ‘right’ utilization of digital media. Disruptive technologies play an important part in said communication however only if those technologies are used to their full extent and if their medium specific features are being exploited as resourcefully as possible. Is this the case, their impact on the way we communicate is immense. Such impact can be widely seen when it comes to digital activism and the way minorities communicate in an age where hashtag activism meets slacktivism. Digital media has become the go-to media to mobilize crowds and gain attention. With this in mind the term ‘fake news’ has been used quite frequently to dismiss digitally spread information that goes against one's beliefs. Therefore it is of utmost interest to understand how disruptive technologies influence the way activists and minorities communicate using digital media and how ‘fake news’ can be understood or debunked as such with a focus on influencing the democratic process.

Fake News, Sociology, New Media, Democracy, Activism
2019 Special Focus: The Future of Democracy in the Digital Age
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Sascha Funk

Lecturer, Faculty of Journalism & Mass Communication, Thammasat University, Thailand

From Germany. Worked in marketing & communication. Now research & teaching in (new) media related subjects in Bangkok.