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Mai 2021

Voice Through Silence: Algorithmic Visibility and Bottom-up Authoritarianism in the Brazilian Crisis

The next Leibniz Media Lunch Talk will be presented by the Digital Disinformation Hub at HBI. Dr. João Carlos Magalhães from the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) will explain the relationship between authoritarianism and algorithmic platforms via the conference platform Zoom. Dr. Clara Iglesias Keller will provide the introduction. The event will be held in English.

When: Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Join us and discuss it with us! After registration you will receive the dial-in data by mail shortly before the event starts.

About the Lecture 

Debates on the relationship between authoritarianism and algorithmic platforms are dominated by two main narratives. One posits that authoritarian actors may exploit platforms to spread misinformation and sow distrust in democratic institutions; the second focuses on the despotic powers of platforms themselves. This paper proposes a third, complementary approach. Based on interviews with 47 previously disengaged Brazilian ordinary people who were politicised through Facebook, the paper advances the notion of "bottom-up authoritarianism". The concept explains how users developed authoritarian practices and identities not because they were radicalised by politicians or manipulated by platforms but due to the assumption that being heard on Facebook often depended on controlling their visibility through the silencing of others and themselves.

About the Speaker

João Carlos Magalhães is a senior researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) in Berlin. Previously, he researched and taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he received a PhD in new media. His work focusses on the entanglement of datafication, power and ethics.

Leibniz Media Lunch Talks 

At the Leibniz Media Lunch Talks, researchers present current topics, interim results from their research projects or doctoral projects in a relaxed atmosphere. Lunch is welcome to be eaten while listening to the talk.


If you would like to participate, please register by using this form. We will then send you the registration data for Zoom shortly before the event.

About the Digital Disinformation Hub

Considering the Institute’s solid tradition in interdisciplinary media studies, the Digital Disinformation Hub is a research project aiming at strengthening the Institute’s contributions to this debate by: enhancing multidisciplinary collaborations among researchers; gathering and systematically bringing together existing internal and external research expertise in the field of disinformation; fomenting conceptual and epistemological approaches to disinformation and building external collaborations.  

Infos zur Veranstaltung


Online via Zoom

Contact person



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