Research Challenge 4

Fixing Social Media

​The spread of false information and increasingly polarized political discussions on social media poses a threat to democracy. This is particularly true in the Philippines, which consistently tops ranking of social media use, and where "divided politics feed – and feed on – a divided web". How does social media contribute to political conflict in the Philippines? Can ICTs be reimagined/redesigned to facilitate more empathetic and effective online conversation? How can we reimagine community through technology? Should we fundamentally question the idea that more connectivity doesn’t necessarily lead to better conversations? What are the emerging trends in social media, especially among the youth? Why have the monopolies of powerful social media platforms continued to persist, and what are new emerging platforms for online communication that may disrupt these monopolies? When new trends are emerging in terms of online communication and behaviors, and when do certain behaviors become acceptable or unacceptable?

In this project you will explore and learn to

  • Construct a descriptive framework that captures the features and shortcoming of current social media environments and how it enables (or hinders) ideal online interactions
  • Review policies (e.g., net neutrality) and management decisions (e.g., walled gardens) that influence (perhaps in unexpected ways) online communication and behavior
  • Play with and understand techniques for creating fake information, such as deep fake media
  • Use and evaluate existing tools for detecting fake information and compare them with other evaluation techniques
  • Predict or speculate about potential problems with social media and online communities in the future
  • Identify specific case studies to test out interventions, and design and test solutions for monitoring and intervening in current and emerging future problems in social media and online communities

Skills, disciplines, and perspectives welcome include (but are not limited to) the following

Development communication, technology management, science and technology studies, history, data science, machine learning, personal psychology, performance studies, anthropology, community development, multimedia

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

Primary Facilitators and Mentors

Other facilitators and mentors may also contribute to this project

Inspiration, resources, and readings