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Echo chambers and online radicalism: assessing the Internet’s complicity in violent extremism

Echo chambers and online radicalism: assessing the Internet’s complicity in violent extremism
Echo chambers and online radicalism: assessing the Internet’s complicity in violent extremism
This article considers claims made by various authors that the use of filtering and recommendation technology on the Internet can deprive certain communities of feedback, and instead amplify groups' viewpoints, leading to polarization of opinion across communities, and increases in extremism. The ‘echo chamber’ arguments of Cass Sunstein are taken as representative of this point of view, and examined in detail in the context of a range of research, theoretical and empirical, quantitative and qualitative, in political science and the sociology of religion, from the last quarter century. The conclusion is that the case has not been made either (a) that echo chambers are necessarily harmful, or (b) that the Internet is complicit in their formation.
extremism, radicalism, internet, echo chambers, public forums, networks
1944-2866
1-22
O'Hara, Kieron
0a64a4b1-efb5-45d1-a4c2-77783f18f0c4
Stevens, David
098753fd-88a7-453e-bf2a-8ed0fd6cfc02
O'Hara, Kieron
0a64a4b1-efb5-45d1-a4c2-77783f18f0c4
Stevens, David
098753fd-88a7-453e-bf2a-8ed0fd6cfc02

O'Hara, Kieron and Stevens, David (2015) Echo chambers and online radicalism: assessing the Internet’s complicity in violent extremism. Policy and Internet, 1-22. (doi:10.1002/poi3.88).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article considers claims made by various authors that the use of filtering and recommendation technology on the Internet can deprive certain communities of feedback, and instead amplify groups' viewpoints, leading to polarization of opinion across communities, and increases in extremism. The ‘echo chamber’ arguments of Cass Sunstein are taken as representative of this point of view, and examined in detail in the context of a range of research, theoretical and empirical, quantitative and qualitative, in political science and the sociology of religion, from the last quarter century. The conclusion is that the case has not been made either (a) that echo chambers are necessarily harmful, or (b) that the Internet is complicit in their formation.

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Accepted/In Press date: April 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 April 2015
Keywords: extremism, radicalism, internet, echo chambers, public forums, networks
Organisations: Web & Internet Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 383440
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/383440
ISSN: 1944-2866
PURE UUID: d3af42d7-b56f-4277-8307-5e03c072b421
ORCID for Kieron O'Hara: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9051-4456

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Nov 2015 12:12
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 07:13

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Contributors

Author: Kieron O'Hara ORCID iD
Author: David Stevens

University divisions

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