Digitalization and Political Extremism

Information and communication technologies shape, direct, and deter political behaviour and institutions as the increase in internet usage regulate our daily lives. The advance of internet and digital media also shape political involvement, partisanship, and ideology. Internet, as the new media, is an important information source that shapes political behaviour along with other effects on societal layers. The new technologies provide a platform for the voices of minorities and disadvantaged communities, therefore urging a pluralist agenda. They are also blamed for the recent rise of populism and polarisation by creating echo-chambers, filter-bubbles, and the “fake news.” In this study, the authors analyse the possible effects of internet usage on political polarisation and ideological extremism by utilising World Values Survey Wave 7 Data for 40 countries. The findings show that internet usage and education level decrease extremism, while safety, work anxiety, and religiosity drive people to the extreme.

Tags: digital media, disinformation, echo chambers, fake news, filter bubbles, polarisation, populism