The unedited public sphere

<jats:p> The health of democratic public spheres is challenged by the circulation of falsehoods. These epistemic problems are connected to social media and they raise a classic problem of how to understand the role of technology in political developments. We discuss three sets of technological affordances of social media that facilitate the spread of false beliefs: obscuring the provenance of information, facilitating deception about authorship, and providing for manipulation of social signals. We argue that these do not make social media a “cause” of problems with falsehoods, but explanations of epistemic problems should account for social media to understand the timing and widespread occurrence of epistemic problems. We argue that “the marketplace of ideas” cannot be adequate as a remedy for these problems, which require epistemic editing by the press. /jats:p

Bimber, The unedited public sphere, 'New Media & Society' (22, 4) pp. 700-715. Copyright © 2020. DOI: 10.1177/1461444819893980. Users who receive access to an article through a repository are reminded that the article is protected by copyright and reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses. Users may also download and save a local copy of an article accessed in an institutional repository for the user's personal reference. For permission to reuse an article, please follow our Process for Requesting Permission.



Work Title The unedited public sphere
Open Access
  1. Bruce Bimber
  2. Homero Gil de Zúñiga
License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)
Work Type Article
  1. SAGE Publications
Publication Date April 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1177/1461444819893980
  1. New Media & Society
Deposited September 09, 2021




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Version 1

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  • Added Post-Print+New+Media++Society+(2020)-1.docx
  • Added Creator Bruce Bimber
  • Added Creator Homero Gil de Zúñiga
  • Published
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