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Non-Spectacular Politics: Global Social Media and Ideological Formation

Sun, May 27, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton Prague, M, Tyrolka

Abstract

Facebook’s ambitious agenda to offer free Internet to India’s disenfranchised with its zero rated platform, “Free Basics”, encountered a major pushback, when a digitally savvy middle class public successfully scuttled the efforts by demanding net neutrality. Despite the seeming victory of “civil society”, FB’s influence continues in far less spectacular forms of everyday politics. Concealed from public glare and scrutiny, tech savvy specialists who work behind the scenes for major political parties are drawing upon the “data” to devise strategies that can locate, enlist and target potential supporters. Udupa argues that these technologized practices have led to continuous mapping of political opinions in their “raw” state, establishing multinational companies such as FB as silent partners in ideological formation, benefitting right-wing politics in India. If FB and Google are the data behemoths, how is their use among a mix of tech actors working for political parties shaping the world’s “largest” democracy?

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