FGV joins Facebook project on impact of social media on the elections

The Director of FGV’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (DAPP), Marco Aurelio Ruediger, has joined the Latin America Advisory Committee for Social Science One

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This month, the Director of FGV’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (DAPP), Marco Aurelio Ruediger, joined the Latin America Advisory Committee for Social Science One, an independent research initiative created in partnership with Facebook and private organizations to analyze the effects of social media on the elections and democracy in general.

The group of academic researchers will set the study agenda; request independent research proposals on different topics; and manage a review process to select research projects that will receive funding and access to private data protected by Facebook.

The project has regional committees in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the United States, in addition to thematic committees: Political Propaganda, Civic Engagement, Electoral Integrity, Polarization and Misinformation. Both groups will work together to define research inquiries and requests for datasets that will be shared under the project.

Scholars in these committees can also request funding and access to data to analyze the platform’s role in elections, including the risks to users and which mitigating measures apply. The projects will be shared publicly and will not require any approval from Facebook.

In the specific case of the regional advisory committees, members will help disseminate Social Science One in their respective regions and serve as a liaison with scholars who may be interested in using the data provided by the project. In addition, they will provide advice on how the initiative can be better adapted to address specific regional issues. For instance, committees will focus on the elections, based on the country’s datasets developed for analysis.

The first request for research proposals relates to misinformation and fake news projects. Facebook will provide a petabyte – or 1 million gigabytes – of data, including what public URLs Facebook users have clicked, when and by whom. Social Science One is co-chaired by Gary King, a professor from Harvard and Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and Nathaniel Persily, a law professor from Stanford and Co-Director of the Democracy and the Internet project.

The initiative will be funded by the Laura and John Arnold FoundationDemocracy FundWilliam and Flora Hewlett FoundationJohn S. and James L. Knight FoundationCharles Koch FoundationOmidyar Network, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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