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Free Speech and Democracy in the Age of Micro-Targeting

For many centuries philosophers, political scientists and lawyers have taken for granted that there is a reasonably clear distinction between the public and private spheres and the nature of “speech” in each space.

The private sphere—i.e., speaking with friends in your home—was a sphere of very limited audience and unlimited speech. You were free to say on- or off-the-record almost anything you wanted, but your audience was limited to the people you could pack in your living room.

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Through micro-targeting and customization, the internet now provides the opportunity for people to reach an unlimited audience with unlimited speech.