The article addresses the main theory of the political public sphere generally, and the role of the Internet and Internet-based media in the theory specifically. It first reviews briefly the initial social research on the Internet in the 1990s concerning political participation. After a presentation of Jürgen Habermas' theory of the contemporary public sphere, it proceeds to discuss the main problems concerning the Internet as a platform or infrastructure for public debate: segmentation and concentration. It argues that a general conclusion is that the public sphere differentiates and become more complex. A key task for future research, it argues, is to investigate the complex connections between Internet publics and mass media publics.
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