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News, Campaigns and the Rationality of Public Discourse

Research Group 14

This research group theoretically and empirically investigates the contents and processes of political communication in digital publics with respect to the spread of extremist views, rumours, and lies. The hybridity of media systems, the constellation of actors, and the dynamics of the discourses promote fleeting and fragmented thematic public spheres. An important question is which conditions and context factors influence the mechanisms and dynamics of “postfactual” news and defamation campaigns.

Quality standards and truth claims in social networks

Moreover, it can be observed that quality standards and truth claims in the public sphere of social networks and user-generated communication are shifting without any foreseeable consequences for the informational level and behaviour of citizens.

An important question is which conditions and context factors influence the mechanisms and dynamics of “postfactual” news and defamation campaigns. What are the differences between the rhetoric of right and left groups, populist and traditional parties in digital media and networks? How does user-driven communication differ from algorithm-based campaigns (e.g. opinion bots)?

Two questions are at the centre of attention:

  • Which forms and types of political campaigns do we encounter in the digital world, and how do arguments spread on different digital platforms and networks?
  • Social Media, Social Bots and Disinformation Campaigns: Which factors influence political topic careers in hybrid media systems?

Research Group Members

Current Publications and Papers

Keller, T.R. & Klinger, U. (2018). Social bots in Germany’s 2017 national election campaign: Theoretical, empirical and methodological implications.

Best Paper Award, International Communication Association ICA Political Communication Section, Mai 2018.

Klinger, U. & Svensson, J. (2018). The end of media logics? On algorithms and agency. New Media & Society.

Klinger, U. (2018). Aufstieg der Semiöffentlichkeit: Eine relationale Perspektive. Publizistik, 63(2), 245-267.

Klinger, U. (2018). Semiöffentlichkeit und politische Mobilisierung. In Hepp, A., Kubitschko, S., & Marszolek, I. (Hrsg.). Die mediatisierte Stadt (pp. 195-209). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

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