1st Edition

Democracy in the Disinformation Age Influence and Activism in American Politics

Edited By Regina Luttrell, Lu Xiao, Jon Glass Copyright 2021
    258 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book established researchers draw on a range of theoretical and empirical perspectives to examine social media’s impact on American politics. Chapters critically examine activism in the digital age, fake news, online influence, messaging tactics, news transparency and authentication, consumers’ digital habits and ultimately the societal impacts that continue to be created by combining social media and politics. Through this book readers will better understand and approach with questions such as:

    • How exactly and why did social media become a powerful factor in politics?

    • What responsibilities do social networks have in the proliferation of factually wrong and hate-filled messages? Or should individuals be held accountable?

    • What are the state-of-the-art of computational techniques for measuring and determining social media's impact on society?

    • What role does online activism play in today’s political arena?

    • What does the potent combination of social media and politics truly mean for the future of democracy?

    The insights and debates found herein provide a stronger understanding of the core issues and steer us toward improved curriculum and research aimed at a better democracy. Democracy in the Disinformation Age: Influence and Activism in American Politics will appeal to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as academics with an interest in areas including political science, media studies, mass communication, PR, and journalism.

    Introduction: Democracy in the Digital Age

    Regina Luttrell, Lu Xiao, Jon Glass

    Part 1: Awakening of Activism

    1. Social Media for Social Good Through a Public Policy Lens

    Adrienne Wallace

    2. "Woke" Culture: The Societal and Political implications of Black Lives Matter Digital Activism

    Jasmine Roberts

    3. Outreach and Empowerment: Civic Engagement, Advocacy and Amplification of the Women’s Movement

    Regina Luttrell

    Part 2: Disruptions in the Digital Age

    4. Fake News, Reality Apathy and the Erosion of Trust and Authenticity in American Politics

    Cindy S. Vincent and Adam Gismondi

    5. The Volume Inside of this Bus is Astronomical: Political Communication and Legitimacy on TikTok

    Teri Del Rosso

    6. The Legal Landscape: The First Amendment, Section 230, and Online Liability

    Frank LoMonte

    Part 3: Misinformation and Disinformation: Spread and Influence

    7. Infowars and the Crisis of Political Misinformation on Social Media

    Michelle M. Maresh-Fuehrer and David Gurney

    8. Combating Misinformation in Risk: Emotional Appeal in False Beliefs

    Jiyoung Lee, Tanya Ott and Danielle Deavours

    9. From Russia With Love: A Social Psychological Analysis of Information Warfare in the Social Media Age

    Rosanna E. Guadagno

    10. Fighting Disinformation in Social Media: An Online Persuasion Perspective  

    Lu Xiao


    Regina Luttrell is Associate Dean of Research and Creative Activities and Assistant Professor of public relations at Syracuse University within the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications  where she researches, publishes and discusses public relations, social media for strategic communication, Gen Z and the Millennial generation, and the intersection of social media within society. Dr. Luttrell’s research has been published in several books in academic journals.

    Lu Xiao is an Associate Professor within the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. She obtained a Ph.D. degree from the College of Information Sciences & Technology, Pennsylvania State University. Broadly speaking, Dr. Xiao is interested in how people reason in social media, the major factors that affect the process and outcome of these reasoning activities, and the main effects imposed on people by the activities.

    Jon Glass is a Professor of Practice for Magazine, News and Digital Journalism at Syracuse University within the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications where he focuses on current news industry issues, social media and digital storytelling. He is executive producer of TheNewsHouse.com, an award-winning, student-produced news, sports and entertainment website for the SU community. Prior to joining the Newhouse School in 2007, Jon was the online content director for PalmBeachPost.com, where he spent 11 years in the newsroom and online departments.

    "From filter bubbles to trolls, and election fraud to misinformation, perhaps never before have our classrooms and workspaces needed to address and consider the central role of social media in our world. This text provides an invaluable and timely collection from thought leaders and social scientists with the aim of providing a foundation for the critical analysis of the ever-evolving and disruptive role of digital communication in democracy. Addressing key dialogue in the public sphere the research provides educators, scholars, and students an empirically driven resource for the discussions we should be having about the path forward and the role we all play."

    Geah Pressgrove, Associate Professor, West Virginia University

    "This volume offers a fresh take on a seminal topic – how social media platforms navigate their emerging and conflicting roles as both venues of social activism and hotbeds of false information. The book offers critical insights into the impact of social media on today’s American democracy."

    Gina M. Masullo, Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

    "Disinformation and propaganda have a long history in the field of communication research, and social media is the latest tool to present an opportunity for political operatives and malicious actors alike to shape public opinion to meet their respective needs. Democracy in the Disinformation Age: Influence and Activism in American Politics is a timely and essential text that brings together notable theorists and scholars currently engaged in the study of the impact of social media and disinformation on modern political communication. These contributors present critical conversations about the impact of social media on American political discourse, and its study. In the course of discussing the impact of social media sites and the responsibilities of those companies in re-shaping political discourse, the contributors also offer insights on how best to study this impact and what lies ahead for communication theorists, political and strategic communication scholars, and educators in our discipline."

    Christopher J. McCollough, Associate Professor, Jacksonville State University