Digital Disconnect: How the Internet is Turning Capitalism Against Democracy

Digital Disconnect, based on the acclaimed book by media scholar Robert McCheney, trains its sights on the relationship between the internet and democracy in the age of fake news, filter bubbles, and Facebook security breaches. Moving from the development of the internet as a publicy-funded government project in the late 1960s to its full-scale commercialization today, the film traces how the revolutionary, democratizing potential of the internet has been radically compromised by the logic of capitalism and the growing and unaccountable power of a handful of telecom and tech monopolies. Along the way, Digital Disconnect examines the ongoing attack on net neutrality and the concept of an open internet by telecom monopolies like Comcast and Verizon; explores how internet giants like Facebook and Google have amassed huge profits by surreptitiously collecting our personal data and selling it to advertisers; and shows how these tech and telecom monopolies have routinely colluded with the national security state to advance covert mass surveillance programs. Even more urgently, the film shows how the rise of social media as a leading information source has worked to isolate people into ideological filter bubbles and elevate clickbait-driven fake news at the expense of real journalism. While most debates about the internet continue to focus on issues like the personal impact of internet addiction or the questionable data-mining practices of a few isolated companies like Facebook, Digital Disconnect digs deeper to show how capitalism itself has turned the internet against democracy.