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Report / Study | Publication

Mechanisms that Shape Social Media and their Impact on Society - Report on the State-of-the-Art in Research

We are still far from having a full understanding of the dynamics through which information spreads across digital media. Social media have changed the way we access, produce and share information, transforming traditional mass media into a system of intertwined horizontal communication networks. The imagined free, equal worldwide network, promised at the dawn of the internet and social media age, has become a software-based cybersphere, driven by economic and geopolitical interests. This fact has significantly altered how contents are conveyed and spread,
exposing the media system to distortions and manipulations whose origin is often difficult to ascertain.
The aim of this report which resulted from a study contracted by European Commission is to provide a systematic, empirical and theoretical analysis to better understand the mechanisms that shape social media and their impact on society.