DIG 3520 Power and Persuasion in Digital Society

DIG 3520 Power and Persuasion in Digital Society

Course code: 
DIG 3520
Communication and Culture
Course coordinator: 
Tor Bang
Course name in Norwegian: 
Digital makt og avmakt
Product category: 
Bachelor of Digital Communication and Marketing - Programme Courses
2024 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

With social media, consumers have their communication channels for involvement, to form action groups, and platforms through which to voice their opinion. Many would argue that digitization represents a realization of citizen democracy because it enables individuals to communicate and engage. At the same time, old power structures are reflected, or amplified, in social media. Established elites seem to remain powerful.

In a short time, global internet giants such as Alphabet (Google-sfæren), Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have gained and maintained power over the world wide web. "Big Tech" lays fundamental premises in the media economy. It furthermore challenges political governance, both in relation to taxation and personal data protection (GDPR).

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After the course, students should have obtained broad knowledge of: 

  • How digitization of the field of communication has brought about shifts in power structures
  • Different theoretical perspectives on the concept of power
  • How consumers and producers make choices and are affected by economic policy, technology, and international framework conditions
  • Networking and the political economy in sharing platforms
  • Relevant theories that shed light on power structures in communication and media organizations
Learning outcomes - Skills

After the course, students should be able to

Find, assess and point to information and knowledge on organizations' use of digital communication, and present that in a way that sheds light on research questions.  

Be able to provide an analysis on algorithms functionality, how they measure power and influence in digital channels. 

General Competence

The course aims at challenging students' ability for reflection, argumentation, and in-depth understanding of key elements and theories related to power, media, economics, democracy, and politics. They must therefore earn:

  • Understanding of how companies carry out their activities in an ethically sound and sustainable manner
  • Knowledge of research and development work in digital communication
Course content

The course is divided into three parts.

  1. Consumer power and individual power: recommendation systems, influencers, mobilization, communities, rules and privacy, freedom of expression and ethics, ideologies and political agendas
  2. Media power: Power structures at eco-, macro-, meso- and micro levels, business ethics and social responsibility, regulation and laws, monopoly formation, attention economy
  3. Online media bias: echo chambers, search engines, filter bubbles, algorithm power and algorithm structures, use and misuse of Big Data, monitoring, digital dividers
Teaching and learning activities

The course is completed with 30 hours of teaching

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

Higher Education Entrance Qualification


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Submission PDF
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
Group/Individual (1 - 3)
72 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
DIG 35201
Grading scale: 
Examination every semester
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
30 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
75 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
70 Hour(s)
25 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.