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Chapter 6 | The Internet as a New Platform for Expressing Opinions and as a New Public Sphere

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The Internet as a New Platform for Expressing Opinions and as a New Public Sphere
BernhardDebatin

Until the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) in the early 1990s, the Internet was an exclusive medium of communication, mostly used by scientists and computer experts. Plummeting prices for computer technology and user-friendly software have driven the WWW's rapid growth and broad, albeit uneven, diffusion throughout Western societies. This has enabled its commercialization and turned the formerly esoteric medium into a mass communication medium: anybody with Internet access can now participate in it. Relatively low production costs and equally low publication barriers today allow almost anybody with basic computer skills to create Web content. By September 2006, the Internet had more than a billion users, and nearly 70% ...

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