Can Privately Owned Social Media Sites be Considered a Reimagining of Habermas’ Public Sphere?

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202012285575
Title: Can Privately Owned Social Media Sites be Considered a Reimagining of Habermas’ Public Sphere?
Author: Mackay, Sam
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2016
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202012285575
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/323750
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Yleinen valtio-oppi, politiikan tutkimus
Political Science, Politics
Allmän statslära, politologi
Abstract: This thesis explores the idea of the creation of political discourse on social media platforms, aiming to address whether social media (and in particular Facebook) under private ownership could be considered forms of Habermasian Public Spheres. A theory of what constitutes a modern Public Sphere is created and then, through a discourse analysis the ideology of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is examined in relation to his moderation of the platform and the effect this has on political discourse. This paper finds that under private ownership social media platforms such as Facebook have awarded unprecedented amounts of power over the public discourse to individual, unaccountable private citizens and that this calls into question the validity of these platforms as Public Spheres.


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