Assessing Digital Threats to Democracy, and Workable Solutions: A Review of the Recent Literature

Kathleen M. Kuehn, Leon A. Salter


Concerns surrounding the threats that digital platforms pose to the functioning of Western liberal democracies have grown since the 2016 U.S. election. Yet despite a preponderance of academic work in this area, the precise nature of these threats, empirical solutions for their redress, and their relationship to the wider digital political economy remain undertheorized. This article addresses these gaps with a semisystematic literature review that identifies and defines four prominent threats—fake news, filter bubbles/echo chambers, online hate speech, and surveillance—and constructs a typology of “workable solutions” for combating these threats that highlights the tendency to silo technical, regulatory, or culturally embedded approaches.



digital democracy, fake news, filter bubbles, echo chambers, hate speech, surveillance, surveillance capitalism

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