This month, the New York state attorney general issued a report on a scheme by “U.S. Companies and Partisans [to] Hack Democracy.” This wasn’t another attempt by Republicans to make it harder for Black people and urban residents to vote. It was a concerted attack on another core element of US democracy ­– the ability of citizens to express their voice to their political representatives. And it was carried out by generating millions of fake comments and fake emails purporting to come from real citizens.

This attack was detected because it was relatively crude. But artificial intelligence technologies are making it possible to generate genuine-seeming comments at scale, drowning out the voices of real citizens in a tidal wave of fake ones.

As political scientists like Paul Pierson have pointed out, what happens between elections is important to democracy. Politicians shape policies and they make laws. And citizens can approve or condemn what politicians are doing, through contacting their representatives or commenting on proposed rules.

Democracy and Fake News: Information Manipulation and Post-Truth Politics – the analysis of post-truth politics.

The volume sheds light on some topical questions connected to fake news, thereby contributing to a fuller understanding of its impact on democracy. In the Introduction, the editors offer some orientating definitions of post-truth politics, building a theoretical framework where various different aspects of fake news can be understood. The book is then divided into three parts: Part I helps to contextualize the phenomena investigated, offering definitions and discussing key concepts as well as aspects linked to the manipulation of information systems, especially considering its reverberation on democracy. Part II considers the phenomena of disinformation, fake news, and post-truth politics in the context of Russia, which emerges as a laboratory where the phases of creation and diffusion of fake news can be broken down and analyzed; consequently, Part II also reflects on the ways to counteract disinformation and fake news. Part III moves from case studies in Western and Central Europe to reflect on the methodological difficulty of investigating disinformation, as well as tackling the very delicate question of detection, combat, and prevention of fake news.