Just going back to typewriters isn’t enough, says Matt Thorne

Democracy Hacked

by Martin Moore, Oneworld, 336pp, £16.99

On June 29, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI joined the social media micro-blogging site Twitter. For Martin Moore, author of new book, Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age, this was a significant moment, the point at which social media could claim, in his words, that it was channelling “the word of God”.

In spite of this, however, Moore is not convinced that Twitter is a good thing, believing that it has many negative qualities. The platform, he thinks, appeals to a certain type of person, interested in hard news and politics, and often strongly partisan. Those who want “a less gladiatorial space” gravitate to Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat instead.

Not that these other social media sites are necessarily any better. The main problem with social media, as Martin sees it, is that it has led to massive cuts in newspaper journalism and allowed “hackers” to manipulate democracy and destabilise our trust in objective truth. “Fake news,” Trump shouts from his electronic bully pulpit, and many of his followers believe him.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection