Customized Filtering & Extremist Enclaves in Republic.Com
56 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2001
This book review of Cass Sunstein's Republic.com, praises the book for raising some intriguing questions, but is very critical of the analysis and answers that the book offers. In particular it challenges Sunstein's analysis of the dangers to the U.S. system of democracy arising from increased public use of customized news services, dubbed the "Daily Me." It argues that Sustein misunderstands how citizens are likely to use the Daily Me. Furthermore, the review asserts that, rather than undermining democracy, in the manner of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World's" soma, Daily Mes are more likely to improve citizen awareness of the important types of information that Sunstein is concerned about. The review also challenges Sunstein's fear that "deliberative enclaves" of extremists that the Internet may foster will pose a "harmful speech" problem that is not susceptible to a "more speech" response. The review suggests some potentially effective "more speech" proposals.
Keywords: Internet, fragmentation, filters, democracy, cyberspace, deliberation
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