Digital democracy: how social media can shape our elections

December 12, 2023Atelier 210 Brussels
Digital Democracy bcg1
Doors open: 19:30
Start programme: 20:30
Atelier 210
Chaussée Saint-Pierre 210

How has social media transformed the way political parties engage with voters? How are personalized political ads influencing our voting decisions? What role do hidden algorithms play in shaping our political views? How do we discern truth from falsehood in a world of "fake news"? How are 'automated bots' manipulating online political discourse?

In an era where platforms like Facebook and Instagram dominate our daily interactions, it is undeniable that they also shape our democratic engagements. In this presentation, we will clarify the intricate dance between elections and social media. Have you ever wondered why certain online political ads resonate strongly with you? To provide an answer to this question, we will dive deep into the world of political microtargeting and its implications. Social media does not just connect us; it also shapes our worldview through algorithms, selectively showing us the stories we would like to see. This can sometimes create a tunnel vision, making it easier for misleading or false stories to take root. Therefore, we will also discuss the importance of algorithms in political elections, and the role of fake news. Finally, we will also shed light on the shadowy presence of ‘political bots' on social media – automated entities that imitate human interactions. In conclusion, in this talk, we will journey through the multifaceted landscape of social media, understanding its transformative power on modern elections - the challenges, the benefits, and the way forward.

Image By vecstock

Talk by

Brahim Zarouali

Brahim Zarouali is a Professor of Persuasive Communication and Digital Media at the Institute for Media Studies (IMS) at KU Leuven. He is also a member of the Young Academy in Belgium. His research focuses on persuasive influence, digital communication and social media. Besides his academic occupation, he also performs as a keynote speaker on topics such as: online ads, digital influence, corporate communication, social media and digitalization, etc.


Music by

The Pigeons

In recent years, The Pigeons have been bringing more and more spice to the Brussels scene, with their very punchy approach to ska and reggae. This band brings together musicians from several local groups that have kept the local Brussels scene alive since the early 2000s, such as Pepper Seed, Jammin' Troopers, The Mockingbirds, and many others.

Let’s open the cage!

The Pigeons