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Perception Management?

Media, Algorithms and the Distortion of Reality

Trendy buzzwords have recently polluted the political discourse: "Fake News", "Post Truth" and the especially creative "Alternative Facts". All of them share the meaning of a distorted reality and result in a sense of confusion among most people. These newly created terminologies seem to be symptomatic for the massive changes underway in the world of journalism and new media. The gatekeepers loose control and a wide array of diverse publishers reshape the perception of the masses. Be it Breitbart News or Infowars, lone wolf reporters, intelligence operatives or even the press secretary of the reality TV president Trump: professional debunkers have a high season. But it's not just fringe websites which spread falsehoods and distorted facts, it's the mainstream media too. Being (ab)used for propagandistic purposes is nothing new in their world. “Perception Management” is a term that has been coined by the Pentagon.
Now there's talk about “fake news task forces” and automatic filtering, censoring and new media regulations. But what is the actual role of algorithms? Filter bubble enhancement? Do we need to regulate more, as a society? Open algorithms, being described like ingredients in an energy drink? Can rules and regulations, censorship and filtering combat a merely social and educational problem? This panel aims to deconstruct the reality of the current discourse in this field.

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