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Selective moderation in the conditions of virtual public sphere

Martyanov Denis

PhD in Politics

Assistant professor, the department of political institutions and applied political research, Saint Petersburg State University

191124, Russia, Sankt-Peterburg, g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Ul. Smol'nogo, 1/3, 7-i pod''ezd

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Martianova Natalia Aleksandrovna

PhD in Sociology

Docent, the department of History and Theory of Sociology, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia

191186, Russia, g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki, 48




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A trend away from the traditional media and fall of the era of television augments power of the Internet as a factor of sociopolitical communication. The subject of this article is the selective moderation in the ideologized and institutional virtual communities of the social network “Vkontakte”. Special attention is given to the question of which of the two ideal types – “public sphere” or “echo-chamber” communication in the Russian social networks suits the most. The object of this study is the virtual public sphere. The authors examine such aspects as the conceptualization of public sphere, categories of counter-public spheres, echo-chambers and “safe spots”. The field experiment carried out in 115 virtual communities became the main method for this research. Supplementary became the methods of observation, discourse analysis and network, which allowed conducting classification of the selected resources. The scientific novelty consists in the description of specificity of moderation of virtual communities in accordance with the criteria of prevalent ideological discourse. The conclusion is made that the communication platform of the politicized communities in the social network “Vkontakte” is being moderated; however, in majority of case, such moderation does not imply total exclusion of the critically-oriented users from the discussion. At the same time, the selectiveness of moderation is evident, since blocking of critics is more noticeable than blocking of adepts of the communities.

Keywords: Internet governance, safe places, virtual community, moderation, ideological segregation, echo chamber, public sphere, selective moderation, Vkontakte, social networks
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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