Influence of Internet communication technologies on contemporary social and political processes: scenarios, challenges, and actors
Keywords:network communities, BigData, Internet communications, mass consciousness, digital politics, echo chambers
The article considers the influence of technological transformations in the Internet communications on social and political processes. The author substantiates the proposition that technological changes in digital communication environment have pronounced social and political effects and greatly shape the forms of interaction between government institutions and social groups. The paper shows that in a number of cases network communities can turn into virtual institutions affecting the authorities which, at the expense of their information and communication online activities, are capable of aggregating and articulating the interests of their adherents and influence social and political situation on the whole. The author concludes that there are considerable differences between the traditional mass communication space and the social media space which points to a transition from the traditional phenomenon of mass to a variety of socially differentiated networks which give rise to local hyper communities. The article also raises the problem of digital Panopticon society where political control over citizens is performed by political elites based on the collected digital traces left by users in the online environment, and by creating personal information capsules that take into account subjective specifics of the final recipients. This helps form a substantial manipulative potential in social and political communications. According to the study findings, differentiation of social groups in terms of their information consumption and formation of critically different models of social and political reality may entail high risks.
Acknowledgments. The study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research and Expert Institute for Social Studies (project no. 19-011-31335).