People the Internet could lead democracy to suffer. In

People
can also select news sources to reinforce their views, although depending on
the topic and form of discussion. People engage in deep analysis online that is
impossible to find in a traditional newspaper. Jan A.G.M. van Dijk wrote:

When users have the skills required, they can freely
select from this body of knowledge. They are no longer dependent on traditional
preprogrammed government and mass media supply. Of course, journalists and all
kinds of information brokers have benefited most from these opportunities, but
sufficiently educated and experienced citizens on the Web are also able to do this
with tools such as search engines. (Snellen et al., 2012,
p. 54)

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His
theory is that democracy is enriched by the flow of information. What is new is
that although we can now all participate, the overall effects of opening up
decision processes are not yet known. On the opposite approach, Andrew Keen (2007)
argued that the questioning of authority taking place in the course of Internet/online
debates is not democracy. In his view, the Internet can reflect significant,
authoritative value, but the absence of a center on the Internet could lead
democracy to suffer. In his controversial book “The Cult of the Amateur,” (2007)
Keen does not focus on the productive side of user contributions as quality
content, but argues that amateur content is threatening our values, economy,
innovation and creativity. However, this argument is now, ten years later, put
even more into perspective with the vast majority of people participating in
online forums, social networks or other forms of online communication. To
exclude amateur content from the Internet could lead to a misjudgment of its
value or even discrimination, and is not a realistic option. In innovation
processes, a heterogeneous crowd is more productive than closed systems (Aitamurto, 2012).
Open innovation breaking down traditional corporate boundaries, allows
intellectual property, ideas and people to flow freely both into and out of an
organization. Aitamurto, argue against perspectives like Keen’s thesis that the
distinction between professional and amateur content is becoming harder to
draw.

 “Crowdsourcing as a part of open innovation
strategy creates an innovation network around political institutions. The
innovation network is in the outer skirts of the circle in the Figure 1. The
innovation network consists of entrepreneurs, technology experts, and citizens,
who use open data, develop services on it, and thus, make it a part of their
businesses. As a result, these groups provide services to citizens, and they
become a part of the ecosystem which is created by Open Government practices.” (Aitamurto, 2012, p. 31)

 

 

Figure 1. The impact of participatory practices on policy-making.
(Aitamurto, 2012, p.30)

Nevertheless,
with crowds now participating in some way, we face the risk of measuring the
quality of political discourse by hits and clicks rather than by the quality of
the content. Furthermore, disinformation, misinformation (Del Vicario et al., 2016),
and the egoistic behavior of a few users can jeopardize the success of ICT
tools for democratic purposes.

The
distinction between information pooling and discussions thus needs to be considered.
Umar Haque also argues in his “social media bubble” theory (Haque, 2010)
that the social web in particular fuels hate against people or subjects, and
that people self-organize into very homogeneous groups, sometimes with rather
narrow common interests. The former, classical, political public has turned
into a collection of target-group-specific “echo chambers.”

Cass Sunstein argues that these echo chambers
represent one of the Internet’s most significant dangers, leading to political
communication in which people listen and talk only to 

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