Foundation Commits $50 Million to Study How Social Media, Tech Impacts Democracy

July 22, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Monday it is committing $50 million for research to better understand how social media and technology are impacting democracy.

The nonprofit foundation, which focuses on journalism and fostering “informed and engaged communities,” said in a release that the research effort is a response to growing concerns about what transpires in the now-digital public square.

In the wake of the manipulation of tech giants like Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 election, the research project at 11 universities and research institutions “will help ensure society is equipped to make evidence-based decisions on how to govern and manage these platforms.

“We’re living through the most profound change in how we communicate with each other since Gutenberg invented the printing press,” said Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen.

“The internet has changed our lives and is changing our democracy,” Ibargüen said. “We have to take a step back and a step forward. To understand what is actually happening, we need independent research and insights based on data, not emotion and invective. To go forward, citizens must be engaged, and including university communities in the debate is a step in that direction.”

In addition to delving into social media’s impact on election campaigns, the grants include projects on the spread of disinformation and how newsrooms can address polarization in society.

Eleven individual  institutions will receive grants to pursue different avenues to understanding the future of democracy in the digital age.

In addition, Knight has opened a new funding opportunity for policy and legal research addressing major, ongoing debates about the rules that should govern social media and technology companies.

“Our democracy is at an inflection point. Technology is fundamentally changing our society, yet we are flying blind,” said Sam Gill, Knight vice president for communities and impact.

“There is a need for innovative approaches that recognize the complexity of these challenges by joining computational sciences, social sciences and the humanities. These resources are intended to spark collaborations that meet the urgent demand for new insights and ideas,” Gill said.

 

In The News

Health

Voting


Notice: Undefined variable: pc_ID in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 270


Notice: Undefined variable: primary_cat in /var/www/html/thewellnews/wp-content/themes/twentynineteen-child/template-parts/content/content-single.php on line 275

USDA to Award $45 Million in Grants for Wood Products, Forest Conservation
Agriculture
USDA to Award $45 Million in Grants for Wood Products, Forest Conservation
May 10, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — The Department of Agriculture is funding over $15 million in grant proposals directed at developing and expanding “the use of wood products, strengthening emerging wood energy markets and protecting community forests.” The grants will support 60 individual projects covering an array of initiatives, including... Read More

Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
Litigation
Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
May 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Former Republican Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, who ran unsuccessfully to unseat Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., last year, is suing the Federal Elections Commission saying it failed to address her concerns over her treatment by Twitter. Luna, a former airfield manager in the U.S.... Read More

Blue Dogs Tap LaVigne to Serve as new Executive Director
In The News
Blue Dogs Tap LaVigne to Serve as new Executive Director
May 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Blue Dog Coalition has hired Andy LaVigne to serve as its executive director. LaVigne previously served as the political director for the International Association of Fire Fighters. He will work alongside Brooke Lillard, who has served as the Coalition’s communications director over the... Read More

Could Biden’s Use of Sanctions Affect U.S.-Canada Relationship?
Think Tanks
Could Biden’s Use of Sanctions Affect U.S.-Canada Relationship?
May 10, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — While much has been studied about President Biden’s first 100 days in office, most of that analysis has focused on how the administration’s actions impact American citizens or relationships with the world’s other great powers, but many wonder about how early actions will affect... Read More

House GOP Leader Says He Backs Ousting Cheney from No. 3 Job
Political News
House GOP Leader Says He Backs Ousting Cheney from No. 3 Job

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy publicly endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik for the post of No. 3 leader, cementing party support of the Donald Trump loyalist over Rep. Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of the former president for promoting discredited claims  that the 2020... Read More

New White House Panel Aims to Separate Science, Politics
Science
New White House Panel Aims to Separate Science, Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eager to the turn the page on the Trump years, the Biden White House is launching an effort to unearth past problems with the politicization of science within government and to tighten scientific integrity rules for the future.  A new 46-person federal scientific... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top