Summary of How We Broke Democracy

Our Technology Has Changed This Election, And Is Now Undermining Our Ability to Empathize with Each Other


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How We Broke Democracy summary
The Internet has debased politics and undermined human empathy.


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Recent political earthquakes like the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency reveal painful divides in democratic societies. How did this happen? Human-empathy researcher Tobias Rose-Stockwell outlines how current news consumption patterns amplify and exacerbate divisions in society. He examines how social media tools can help promote consensus and empathy instead. getAbstract recommends this essay to all citizens concerned about the state of political discourse and seeking practical ways to help improve it.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the Internet has dramatically alters news consumption patterns,
  • How changing media consumption patterns make people less empathetic and more polarized, and
  • Why society needs online media tools and skills that build empathy and reduce divisions.


The Internet changes the way people consume information. During the 20th century and into the beginning of the 21st, a relatively small number of news sources – television networks, regional newspapers and radio stations – dominated the media landscape. Traditional news outlets engaged in fact-checking...
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About the Author

Tobias Rose-Stockwell is a designer, writer and entrepreneur. He is currently writing about the nature of empathy in technology.

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