Sander Schimmelpenninck takes a closer look at the lawlessness on social media

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Vpro Sander En De Socials Sander Schimmelpenninck Hr C Diederick Bulstra Photography

Polarization is increasing, confidence in democratic institutions is declining and politicians, scientists and journalists are increasingly threatened. In the four-part Sander and the Socials, Sander Schimmelpenninck examines the far-reaching influence of social media on these developments. To this end, he talks to journalists, moderators, philosophers, lawyers and troll hunters, among others. How does the use of social media undermine our democracy and why is no one doing anything?

Social media have a major influence on our society and politics, including through algorithms that provide people with one-sided or false information, through their decisive role in elections and debates, through the inevitable polarization and unlimited hate campaigns. Politicians, scientists, journalists, in fact everyone who speaks out in the social debate has to deal with online hate. Sander Schimmelpenninck, who does not shy away from debate himself, also regularly faces threats. The abusers and threateners would never have gotten away with their behavior in the offline world. Why online? Why is there no enforcement there?

For Sander, posting on X is a choice; when he stops, the threats stop too. For others that is not an option. A politician, for example, cannot run away from the online debate. How do we ensure that the online world also becomes a safe environment and that people can continue to do their work? Now it seems to be mainly the big tech companies that rule online. How can we hold them accountable? And who should actually determine the laws and rules on social platforms?

In the series Sander and the socials, Schimmelpenninck looks for answers to these questions. To this end, he talks to journalists, troll hunters, Facebook moderators, philosophers, lawyers, politicians and Public Prosecution Service employees. He also speaks to people who were misled by disinformation and victims of online hate. How does this affect them? Sander also keeps his own behavior under the microscope. Because isn’t his own behavior just as harmful as that of many others?

Sander and the socials, from Monday October 30, 9:10 PM, VPRO, NPO 3 and NPO Start

Photo: Diederick Bulstra Photography

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