Social Media, News Media, and the Democratic Deficit: Can the Blockchain Make a Difference?

Keywords: democracy, social media, news media, blockchain, disinformation


This article explores the potentials of blockchain technology to alleviate and/or intensify some of the problems of the information and communication sector. Divided into four sections, the article first explores the democratic deficit within the context of an informed citizenry. This section includes a study of the current public sphere, post-truth politics and populism. Secondly, the article addresses the current information and communication system by investigating today’s social media and an ever-changing digital news media landscape. Thirdly, it explores four prevalent approaches toward reforming the information and communication system: fact-checking and debunking, media literacy, regulation and policy reform, and self-regulation. And fourthly, it addresses the central question of the study, which concerns blockchain technology. This disruptive database technology has potential to offer solutions to regaining trust in the information ecosystem, yet like other approaches, when placed within existing socio-economic structures, it falls short in reversing the democratic deficit.