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There has been much concern over the impact of partisan echo chambers and filter bubbles on public debate. Is this concern justified, or is it distracting us from more serious issues?
Axel Bruns argues that the influence of echo chambers and filter bubbles has been severely overstated, and results from a broader moral panic about the role of online and social media in society. Our focus on these concepts, and the widespread tendency to blame platforms and their algorithms for political disruptions, obscure far more serious issues pertaining to the rise of populism and hyperpolarisation in democracies. Evaluating the evidence for and against echo chambers and filter bubbles, Bruns offers a persuasive argument for why we should shift our focus to more important problems.
This timely book is essential reading for students and scholars, as well as anyone concerned about challenges to public debate and the democratic process.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Flaws in popular conceptions of echo chambers and filter bubbles are exposed by Axel Bruns's analytical perspective on the actual uses and impact of the Internet in politics, which raises new and even more troubling questions.'
William H. Dutton, University of Southern California and University of Oxford
'This is precisely the wake-up call we need: a book that blows up myths about "filter bubbles" and "echo chambers", showing how misleading these concepts have become. Bruns offers smarter ways of thinking about the issues and explains the real concerns that need our attention at a critical moment for media, politics, and public life.'
Seth C. Lewis, University of Oregon