Social Media & Democracy: What to Do?

Upcoming livestream on content moderation, Improving Social Media project, & more!

👍On Monday we had our first virtual meeting for our new project, Improving Social Media: The People, Organizations, & Ideas for a Better Tech Future. Thrilled to have over 30 people join us on the call and over 70 now working on our shared Google Doc as we build out this resource to be released Feb 17. We’ll be having meetings every Monday and would love for you to join us! The more angles and voices, the better. INTEREST FORM

*Who are the individuals working to improve social media?

*What organizations are doing a good job in the space?

*What “solutions” are you seeing that can be implemented?

Send over the organizations we should list, the people we should interview, the toolkits, solutions, case studies, and more HERE. This resource will inform policymakers, technologists, media, and the overall Responsible Tech community.

📖 This resource will build off the work we did on the “Responsible Tech Guide,” released in September, which has nearly 20k reads right now and is becoming the go-to resource for people to learn about the Responsible Tech field. A revised version of the Responsible Tech Guide will be out in the Fall! Yeah, we’re busy.

🤯Okay, there is a lot of interest in our January 21st livestream! We already have over 300 registrations, so we want to give a big thank you for our partner TheBridge, along with the kind promotion by Harvard Berkman Klein Center and Data & Society. And if you are looking to catch up on previous livestreams, you can do there HERE.

This conversation with feature special guests Sarah T. Roberts, PhD (co-founder and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, author of Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media) & Murtaza Shaikh, PhD (Senior Advisor on Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities to UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues). The conversation will be moderated by David Ryan Polgar (All Tech Is Human, member of TikTok’s Content Advisory Council. Read Op-Ed about social media & democracy, related conversation).

How platforms moderate content has a direct impact on democracy, as we have witnessed recently. Who decides what is appropriate? What level of transparency should there be? How does the American ideal of free expression extend throughout the globe? What role should platforms play with limiting hate speech and misinformation?

🙋You can ask your questions during our livestream, many of which will appear on screen. We want to showcase the ideas of the community here at All Tech Is Human! We have already received so many questions through the livestream sign-up, that we have compiled them below.

Submitted Questions for the livestream

There has been a lot of progress on our Responsible Tech Book & Discussion Club, which is being run by Felicia Chen and Grace Juster. The group is meeting on our new Slack, which you can join HERE. Felicia and Grace have been conducting a survey of the book club to determine how best the structure the group and what books to read first. You can fill out the book club survey HERE.

Reading Group Survey

All Tech Is Human Slack sign-up

📣 Responsible Tech Voice of the Week: Dipayan Ghosh

“[W]e need the Internet to work more effectively for us, its users. The core issue driving the problems of hate and misinformation online is not a matter of lax content moderation but rather the business model of social media itself — a business model consistently focused on uninhibited data collection to the end of behavioral profiling, and the use of algorithms to manipulate the user’s media experience. These are the features of social media that Russian disinformation operators, domestic extremists and even the president himself have exploited to foist hatred, violence and conspiracy on American voters in recent years.”-Dipayan Ghosh, Op-Ed for the Washington Post

Dipayan is co-director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, author of Terms of Disservice, & former public policy advisor at Facebook. Dipayan has a special guest on our recent livestream, Social Media & Democracy: What Role Do Platforms Play With Misinformation & Content Moderation?

💡 Responsible Tech Organization of the Week: Coding it Forward

Coding it Forward is a nonprofit by and for young people creating new opportunities and pathways into social impact and civic technology. They are promoting civic-minded and public interest technologists and empowering the next generation of technology leaders to create social change. Apply to their Civic Digital Fellowship by Jan 24th! We need more civic-minded technologists & changemakers, and Coding it Forward is helping push this, well, forward.

👩‍💻 Responsible Tech Job of the Week

Data & Society is hiring a researcher for its Health and Data Initiative that will “examine the extent to which new technologies can address historical disparities in data collection and access to healthcare–and, in turn, introduce new forms of inequity. Through empirical investigation, the Health and Data team seeks to understand the evolving and complex interdependence of our health and technology practices, including algorithmic decision-making in clinical care, bias in genome databases, ethical collection of data, healthy interactions with tech platforms and mobile devices, and the spread of health misinformation online.” Apply by Jan 31st!

Looking for other Responsible Tech positions? Check out this job board.

🔥 Fellowship: The Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellowship

Apply to The Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellowship by Feb 22! This fellowship is “a full-time, paid, ten-week program that teaches technology experts the policy process through an in-residence program in the Bay Area. The program is ideal for technologists interested in building better tech policy, whether that be within government or more broadly as an external advocate or from within the tech industry. It is particularly well-suited to applicants who have existing tech policy ideas they wish to refine and press forward.”

See you online for our livestream on Jan 21!

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