A new report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), published on 27 October, identifies key pressure points that shape social media’s impact on our democracies.

graphic showing a network and text Technology and Democracy - Understanding the influence of online technologies on political behaviour and decision-making

In "Technology and Democracy: understanding the influence of online technologies on political behaviour and decision-making", an international team of experts takes a behavioural science approach to investigate the impact of online platforms on political behaviour.

The report analyses the cognitive challenges posed by four pressure points: attention economy, platform choice architectures, algorithmic content curation and disinformation, and makes policy recommendations to address them.

Specific actions could include banning microtargeting for political ads, transparency rules so that users understand how an algorithm uses their data and to what effect, or requiring online platforms to provide reports to users showing when, how and which of their data is sold.

This report is the second output from the JRC’s Enlightenment 2.0 multi-annual research programme.