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The Open Society vs Social Media by Sanjana Hattotuwa

The more social media takes root in our country, the more it is used for ‘constant campaigns’, where politics is defined or debated through the insidious cultivation of misinformation, fear and anxiety. What really does an ‘open society’ mean given this new, yet already entrenched reality? Who are the arbiters of truth on Facebook –algorithms, old media, civil society, individuals or collectives?

The talk examined several questions regarding the modern trajectory of social media use within Sri Lanka to extract the lessons we must learn and the platforms we should be aware of on social media. It particularly explored to what degree Sri Lanka captures its democratic potential, given dark patterns on social media that silently hold us all hostage.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
He is an Ashoka, Rotary World Peace and TED Fellow. Since 2002, Sanjana has worked at the intersection of technology, peacebuilding, culture & civic media. In 2006 Sanjana founded, and for 11 years, curated the award-winning Groundviews platform – Sri Lanka’s first citizen journalism website. Sanjana specialises in, advises and trains on new media literacy, web-based activism and advocacy. For over a decade, he has also leveraged theater, art and design to interrogate inconvenient truths, explore constitutionalism, unpack the nature of violence and interrogate the timbre of democracy. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand on social media and socio-political dynamics in post-war Sri Lanka.