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Networks, whether in the form of Facebook and Twitter or WhatsApp groups, are exerting immense, unchecked power in subverting political discourse and polarizing the public in India. If people’s understandings of their political reality can be so easily manipulated through misinformation, then what role can they play in fostering deliberative democracies? Amber Sinha asks this muchignored and often-misunderstood question in his book The Networked Public. In search for an answer, he investigates the history of misinformation and the biases that make the public susceptible to it, how digital platforms and their governance impacts the public’s behaviour on them, as well as the changing face of political targeting in this data-driven world. The book weaves sharp analysis with academic rigour to show that while the public can be irrational and gullible, their actions-be it mob violence or spreading fake news-are symptoms of deeper social malaise and products of their technological contexts. The Networked Public is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how social media and the Internet is transforming democracy not only in India, but across the world.
About the Author
Amber Sinha is a lawyer interested in technology, the Internet, and how the law engages with them. He is interested in the impact of emerging technologies on existing legal frameworks, and how they need to evolve in response. He works at the Centre for Internet and Society, where he manages programmes on privacy, big data, digital identity and artificial intelligence. Amber has taught at the National Law School of India University and at Christ University, in Bengaluru. Prior to a life in public policy, Amber worked as a corporate lawyer.
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