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.