1st Edition

Democracy and Fake News Information Manipulation and Post-Truth Politics

Edited By Serena Giusti, Elisa Piras Copyright 2021
    246 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the challenges that disinformation, fake news, and post-truth politics pose to democracy from a multidisciplinary perspective. The authors analyse and interpret how the use of technology and social media as well as the emergence of new political narratives has been progressively changing the information landscape, undermining some of the pillars of democracy.

    The volume sheds light on some topical questions connected to fake news, thereby contributing to a fuller understanding of its impact on democracy. In the Introduction, the editors offer some orientating definitions of post-truth politics, building a theoretical framework where various different aspects of fake news can be understood. The book is then divided into three parts: Part I helps to contextualise the phenomena investigated, offering definitions and discussing key concepts as well as aspects linked to the manipulation of information systems, especially considering its reverberation on democracy. Part II considers the phenomena of disinformation, fake news, and post-truth politics in the context of Russia, which emerges as a laboratory where the phases of creation and diffusion of fake news can be broken down and analysed; consequently, Part II also reflects on the ways to counteract disinformation and fake news. Part III moves from case studies in Western and Central Europe to reflect on the methodological difficulty of investigating disinformation, as well as tackling the very delicate question of detection, combat, and prevention of fake news.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of political science, law, political philosophy, journalism, media studies, and computer science, since it provides a multidisciplinary approach to the analysis of post-truth politics.


    Introduction: In Search of Paradigms: Disinformation, Fake News, and Post-Truth Politics

    Serena Giusti and Elisa Piras

    Part I: Post-Truth Politics and the Challenges to Democracy

    1. Reading Arendt to Rethink Truth, Science and Politics in the Era of Fake News

    Federica Merenda

    2. Inequality in the Public Sphere: Epistemic Injustice, Discrimination and Violence

    Elisa Piras

    3. Incorporating Intersectionality into AI Ethics

    Liza Ireni-Saban and Maya Sherman

    4. How Post-Truth Politics Transformed and Shaped the Outcome of the 2016 Brexit Referendum

    Jennifer Cassidy

    5. Information and Democracy: Fake News as an Emotional Weapon

    Matthew Loveless

    6. Searching for a Unicorn: Fake News and Electoral Behaviour

    Luigi Curini and Eugenio Pizzimenti

    7. Once Upon Covid-19: A Tale of Misleading Information Going Viral

    Alice Hazelton

    Part II: From Disinformation to Post-Truth Politics: Evidences from Russia

    8. Lie to Live: The Production of a Faked Reality as an Existential Function of Putin's Regime

    Anna Zafesova

    9. Playing the Russian Disinformation Game: Information Operations from Soviet Tactics to Putin’s Sharp Power

    Francesco Bechis

    10. Myths and Realities of Putinism in Post-Truth Politics

    Mara Morini

    11. Responding to Alleged Russian Interference by Focusing on the Vulnerabilities That Make It Possible

    Giorgio Comai

    Part III: Dilemmas of Contrasting Disinformation and Fake News

    12. Information Spreading and the Role of Automated Accounts on Twitter: Two Case Studies

    Guido Caldarelli, Rocco De Nicola, Marinella Petrocchi, and Fabio Saracco

    13. Radical-Right Political Activism on the Web and the Challenge for European Democracy: A Perspective from Eastern and Central Europe

    Manuela Caiani and Pál Susánszky

    14. When a Credible Source turns ‘Fake’: The Relotius Affair and the German System for Combatting Fake News

    Mihail Stojanoski

    15. "But verifying facts is what we do!": Fact-checking and Journalistic Professional Autonomy

    Urban Larssen

    16. The EU Code of Practice on Disinformation and the Risk of the Privatisation of Censorship

    Matteo Monti


    Serena Giusti is Head of the Programme on Eastern Europe, Russia and Eurasia at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy, and Senior Associate Research Fellow at the Institute for International Studies (ISPI) in Milan, Italy. She also sits on the Advisory board of Women in International Security (WIIS), Italy.

    Elisa Piras is Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Philosophy at Dirpolis Institute at Sant’Anna School for Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. Her research focuses on contemporary political liberalism and its international implications for global justice and for democratic foreign policy.