The Destabilization Experiment

A decade after Twitter and Facebook were instrumental to massive national protest movements in Iran, Tunisia, and across the world, our understanding of how social media impacts democracy is quickly evolving. Early narratives pointing to these platforms as great agents of democratization have given way to a more nuanced understanding of their impact on our political discourse. While these technologies still possess tremendous power to organize communities and to break down traditional mechanisms of oppression, more recent experiences suggest that they can also be an agent of destabilization for democratic structures, or even of building and entrenching new autocratic regimes.

The Destabilization Experiment, an ideas series produced in partnership between Rest of World and the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy, explores the multifaceted ways that social media has impacted the political discourse around the world, to answer the question: What impact is social media having on democracies around the world?