Data versus Democracy

How Big Data Algorithms Shape Opinions and Alter the Course of History

Authors: Shaffer, Kris

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  • Teaches the impact of the attention economy and algorithmic information delivery on media production and consumption
  • Shows how regulations, business practices, and consumer safeguards have been slow to catch up to technological advances, leaving information platforms open to manipulation
  • Covers how both foreign and domestic operatives leveraged big-data analytics to win (or hack) elections
  • Includes information about social movements that have used participatory media to steer the narrative of mainstream media
  • Shares how “troll armies” have used automated social media accounts (bots) to harass and abuse individuals and communities
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  • ISBN 978-1-4842-4540-8
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Softcover $27.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-4842-4539-2
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About this book

Human attention is in the highest demand it has ever been. The drastic increase in available information has compelled individuals to find a way to sift through the media that is literally at their fingertips. Content recommendation systems have emerged as the technological solution to this social and informational problem, but they’ve also created a bigger crisis in confirming our biases by showing us only, and exactly, what it predicts we want to see. Data versus Democracy investigates and explores how, in the era of social media, human cognition, algorithmic recommendation systems, and human psychology are all working together to reinforce (and exaggerate) human bias. The dangerous confluence of these factors is driving media narratives, influencing opinions, and possibly changing election results. 
In this book, algorithmic recommendations, clickbait, familiarity bias, propaganda, and other pivotal concepts are analyzed and then expanded upon via fascinating and timely case studies: the 2016 US presidential election, Ferguson, GamerGate, international political movements, and more events that come to affect every one of us. What are the implications of how we engage with information in the digital age? Data versus Democracy explores this topic and an abundance of related crucial questions. We live in a culture vastly different from any that has come before. In a society where engagement is currency, we are the product. Understanding the value of our attention, how organizations operate based on this concept, and how engagement can be used against our best interests is essential in responsibly equipping ourselves against the perils of disinformation.


Who This Book Is For
Individuals who are curious about how social media algorithms work and how they can be manipulated to influence culture. Social media managers, data scientists, data administrators, and educators will find this book particularly relevant to their work.

About the authors

Kris Shaffer, Ph.D., is a data scientist and Senior Computational Disinformation Analyst for New Knowledge. He co-authored "The Tactics and Tropes of the Internet Research Agency," a report prepared for the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election on social media. He has consulted for multiple US government agencies, non-profits, and universities on matters related to digital disinformation, data ethics, and digital pedagogy.
In a former (professional) life, Kris was an academic and digital humanist. He has taught courses in music theory and cognition, computer science, and digital studies at Yale University, University of Colorado–Boulder, University of Mary Washington, and Charleston Southern University. He holds a PhD from Yale University.

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)
  • Pay Attention

    Pages 3-18

    Shaffer, Kris

  • Cog in the System

    Pages 19-30

    Shaffer, Kris

  • Swimming Upstream

    Pages 31-44

    Shaffer, Kris

  • Domestic Disturbance

    Pages 47-66

    Shaffer, Kris

  • Democracy Hacked, Part 1

    Pages 67-89

    Shaffer, Kris

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4842-4540-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $27.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4842-4539-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Data versus Democracy
Book Subtitle
How Big Data Algorithms Shape Opinions and Alter the Course of History
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Apress
Copyright Holder
Kris Shaffer
eBook ISBN
978-1-4842-4540-8
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4842-4540-8
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4842-4539-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 120
Number of Illustrations
2 b/w illustrations
Topics