Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, delivers the 2018 Holden Lecture. In Antisocial Media, Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site hacked together by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging. It’s an account of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit, and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems. And it’s an indictment of how “social media” has fostered the deterioration of democratic culture around the world, from facilitating Russian meddling in support of Trump’s election to the exploitation of the platform by murderous authoritarians in Burma and the Philippines.
This lecture is free and open to the public. The Holden Lecture is supported by the John T. Holden Memorial Fund in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of New Hampshire.