Summit for Democracy Showed the Challenges to Democracy

By Mimaki Seiko,
16 January 2022

Against this backdrop, the U.S. hosted in December a (virtual) “Summit for Democracy” that was attended by hundreds of national and civil-society leaders. The message of the gathering was clear: democracies must assert themselves firmly and proactively. To that end, the summit devoted numerous sessions to studying the digital revolution and its potentially harmful implications for our political systems.

Emerging technologies pose at least three major risks for democracies. The first concerns how they structure public debate. Social networks balkanise public discourse by segmenting users into ever smaller like-minded communities. Algorithmically-driven information echo chambers make it difficult to build social consensus. Worse, social networks are not liable for the content they distribute, which means they can allow misinformation to spread on their platforms with impunity.