Towards an Infrastructure for a Democratic Digital Public Sphere

Author: Volker Grassmuck

Book Chapter in: Baratsits Alexander (ed.), Building a European Digital Public Sphere. Strategies for taking back control from Big Tech platforms. iRights Media

Date: 15 November 2021



The Internet is great but broken. Back in the day, it brought us the Usenet Newsgroups, the Blogosphere and John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of Independence. Now, the Internet is dominated by monopolistic, addictive, asocial platforms that pit us against one another in a deluge of fake news, hate speech, disinformation and worse. Something has gone terribly wrong. This text identifies the public sphere as the place for individual and collective opinion forming as the most important function of the digital realm that needs fixing. It suggests a shared and open sociotechnical infrastructure for pluralistic and federated platforms in Europe, and shows that most of the building blocks already exist. A different Internet is possible.

You can download the preprint here and on the EUMEPLAT Community on Zenodo here.