From liberation to turmoil: Social media and democracy

Joshua A. Tucker, Yannis Theocharis, Margaret E. Roberts, Pablo Barberá

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    How can one technology-social media-simultaneously give rise to hopes for liberation in authoritarian regimes, be used for repression by these same regimes, and be harnessed by antisystem actors in democracy? We present a simple framework for reconciling these contradictory developments based on two propositions: 1) that social media give voice to those previously excluded from political discussion by traditional media, and 2) that although social media democratize access to information, the platforms themselves are neither inherently democratic nor nondemocratic, but represent a tool political actors can use for a variety of goals, including, paradoxically, illiberal goals.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)46-59
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Democracy
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

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    Tucker, J. A., Theocharis, Y., Roberts, M. E., & Barberá, P. (2017). From liberation to turmoil: Social media and democracy. Journal of Democracy, 28(4), 46-59.