What to do about social media? Politics, populism and journalism

Crilley, Rhys; Gillespie, Marie

The single biggest challenge facing journalism today is the continued unregulated growth of social media platforms and associated ways in which they have been gamed by political actors for their own ends. This is contributing to the steady erosion of independent journalism and a deterioration of democratic politics. Finding a solution to these problems requires not only concerted political will but also state regulation of social media platforms to ensure greater privacy, data protection and transparency. A few important steps towards a solution include effective monitoring of the deployment of targeted advertising for political purposes; ensuring that their algorithms do not promote the circulation of racist, sexist, homophobic and other extremist content; and making social media companies editorially responsible for the content they publish and circulate.