Transforming Toxic Debates towards European Futures

Technological Disruption, Societal Fragmentation, and Enlightenment 2.0


  • Mehmet Ali Üzelgün University institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL)
  • Iliana Giannouli National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Ioanna Archontaki National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Klára Odstrčilová Charles University
  • Barbara Thomass Ruhr University Bochum
  • Cláudia Álvares University Institute of Lisbon



Toxic debates, Topic-driven toxicity, Algorithmic disruption, Digital media literacy, Regulation of social media content


Online toxicity refers to a spectrum of problematic communicative phenomena that unfold in various ways on social media platforms. Most of the current efforts to contain it focus on computational techniques to detect online toxicity and build a regulatory architecture. In this paper, we highlight the importance of focusing on the social phenomena of toxicity, and particularly, exploring the public understanding and future imaginaries of toxic debates. To explore how users construe online toxicity and envisage the future of online discussions, we examine 41 scenarios produced by European experts from the field of technology and culture. Through a content analysis informed by a narrative approach and insights from futures studies, we identify three myths that characterize the future scenarios: technological disruption, societal fragmentation, and digital Enlightenment. After a discussion of their relations, we conclude by stressing the importance of platform transparency and user empowerment.


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How to Cite

Üzelgün, M. A., Giannouli, I., Archontaki, I., Odstrčilová, K., Thomass, B., & Álvares, C. (2024). Transforming Toxic Debates towards European Futures: Technological Disruption, Societal Fragmentation, and Enlightenment 2.0. Central European Journal of Communication, 17(1(35), 82-102.

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