BCC.20.007 – Democratizing facts, and fiction: patterns of influence on the internet and in social media (DEM_ITS)

Route: Between conflict and cooperation

Cluster question: 033 How robust is democracy, how much confidence does society have in it, and how can we make improvements in both cases?

Digital public debates on all sorts of controversial policy issues are at the forefront of rethinking relationships between politics, science and society. This ascendance is due to their growing influence on democratic decision making. – Digital detectives and distributors; (DDDs) are actors that use the Internet and social media to find and share information to influence public opinion and decision-making. This project studies how facts and fiction that are spread by these DDD’s about complex problems; either democratize or de-democratize policy making on these problems.
The objectives are:
(1) Discern democratizing patterns of influence on public facts and fiction.
(2) Design a heuristic model of these democratizing or de-democratizing patterns.
(3) Develop innovative strategies to encourage the democratization of DDDs.
The expected impact:
(1) Insights in patterns of influence, reported in the team’s academic publications and YouTube vlogs
(2) Interventions on the Internet, examining responses to varying information framing
(3) Interactions with stakeholders to co-develop responses to de-democratizing information.
We will collaborate with governmental actors, NGO’s, and industry. There are existing relations, but we seek other partners.


democracy, online controversies, social media


Organisation Wageningen University (WUR)
Name Dr. Tamara Metze
E-mail tamara.metze-burghouts@wur.nl
Website https://www.wur.nl/nl/Personen/Tamara-dr.-TAP-Tamara-Metze.htm