Impact & Society

Researchers are awarded grants to study Facebook data and its influence on elections

Last year saw the launch of Social Science One—a model devised to allow academic researchers access to the huge amounts of data generated by private industry, including Facebook data which will constitute the inaugural project. This week the first grants have been announced in partnership with the Social Science Research Council. Twelve projects have been awarded grants, as over 60 researchers come together from 11 countries and 30 academic institutions to study social media’s impact upon our society and democratic systems.

Matchmaking tools: Augmenting the relationship between research and industry

On a Friday evening in 1922, you could turn on the radio in Schenectady NY and hear Hermann Briggs talking about the latest research and discoveries around common disease and illnesses. Radio, and later TV, were the most exciting and widest reaching media platforms where research knowledge could be shared with the public.

Today, researchers have access to a whole host of media (podcasts, YouTube channels, Ted Talks, etc.) to talk about their research and how it can be fun or useful for the public.

Book review: Artificial unintelligence: How computers misunderstand the world by Meredith Broussard

This book will be of particular value to social scientists interested in the political, economic and social dynamics of AI and data-driven technology. It will also be of interest to investigative and data journalists seeking to leverage computational tools.

Fake news sharing is rare but older people over 65 are more likely to share these articles, study finds

These two studies examined fake news on separate social media platforms; Facebook and Twitter, with both concluding that sharing this content was a rare occurrence but when users did share fake news articles they tended to be older Americans over 65.

Social Science Foo Camp 2019

The second annual Social Science Foo Camp took place at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park at the start of this month, convening an eclectic mix of more than 200 social scientists, technologists, funders, policy makers, businesspeople and writers.

Collecting mobile application usage data

Widely used apps like Facebook, Twitter or Google Maps count millions of users and are already deeply entrenched in our daily social life. However, while we know that mobile map applications are used quite often, we know very little about how they are used

Social network analysis of the 2017 "Summer of Hate"

Fifty years after the "Summer of Love" transformed American youth culture, Andrew Anglin, the proprietor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, announced to his followers that the summer of 2017 would be "The Summer of Hate."

Nesta to set up new Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

Nesta confirmed they are to launch a new Centre for Collective Intelligence Design this summer. The centre will seek to harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a particular focus on the combination of human and machine intelligence.

Humans broke the internet, understanding them better might help fix it

By Timo Hannay

Here's a multiple-choice question: Is the internet (a) the most open, egalitarian and empowering means of communication ever devised, or (b) a dystopian nightmare populated by hucksters, trolls and miscellaneous abusers of human rights? The answer is, of course, (c) all of the above and much else besides. This stark contrast between the internet's light and dark sides has become a defining characteristic of the digital age, but is not an inevitable consequence of the mostly innocuous technologies on which it's built. Rather, it is the product of their bewilderingly diverse and eccentric user base – otherwise known as humanity.