‘Dear Mark’: an open letter to Facebook

Facebook’s recent overture towards more transparency has been a topic of debate at the microtargeting symposium, which occurred at the University of Amsterdam, in light of an upcoming special issue of Internet Policy Review. The discussion between leading academics in the field of political microtargeting led to an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, in which Zuckerberg is encouraged to “engage with governments, regulators, election monitoring bodies, civil society and academics to develop public policies and guidelines for ensuring fairness, equality, and democratic oversight in digital political campaigns.”



Symposium on political microtargeting

In light of the upcoming special issue of Internet Policy Review on political microtargeting, guest editors Balazs Bodo, Natali Helberger, and Claes de Vreese organised a symposium on the topic. There, authors discussed each other’s submitted papers.

Hosted by the University of Amsterdam, Kathryn Montgomery (American University) kicked off by discussing Mauricio Moura’s (George 

Washington University) paper on the use of WhatsApp by political campaigns in Brazil. Then, Sabrina Sassi (Université Laval) discussed a paper by Tom Dobber et al. (University of Amsterdam) on the conditions under which political microtargeting occurs in the Netherlands. Simon Kruschinski (University of Mainz) then took over to discuss Sabrina Sassi’s work on different aspects of microtargeting in the political realm. The first half of the symposium was concluded by Mauricio Moura, who discussed Simon Kruschinski and André Haller’s (University of Bamberg) analysis of data-driven campaigning in Germany.

Continue reading »

New project: FairNews

Personalised Communication will contribute to the NWA Big Data Route with a project called “FairNews: Nieuwsvoorziening in een Big Data Data tijdperk (Fair News:News in a Big Data Age)”. Under the lead of Claes de Vreese (UvA/CW), Claudia Hauff (TUD), and Joris Hoboken (UvA/IvIR) and in collaboration with Dutch quality newspaper de Volkskrant, the project will deal with the question: How far can and may algorithms go in filtering information?

More info here.

N. Helberger in gesprek met M. de Goede in SPUI25 Event Baanbrekend en Bekroond: topwetenschappers over hun onderzoek 19/9 from 1700-1830

De European Research Council (ERC) van de Europese Unie viert dit jaar net als SPUI25 haar tienjarig bestaan. Aanleiding om het onderzoek en de laureaten in het zonnetje te zetten. Twee van de ERC-laureaten van de UvA zijn te gast, Marieke de Goede en Natali Helberger. Onder leiding van moderator Sicco de Knegt spreken zij over hun onderzoek, de dilemma’s die ze tegenkomen en wat hen drijft als wetenschapper.In tien jaar hebben 71 onderzoekers van de UvA een subsidie van de ERC ontvangen, waarmee de UvA ‘top host organisation’ is in Nederland. In totaal heeft de ERC in tien jaar tijd bijna 7.000 onderzoekers in Europa gefinancierd. De onderzoekers aan de Nederlandse universiteiten zijn erg succesvol geweest in het verwerven van ERC-grants. In totaal gaat het in Nederland om 593 toekenningen, voor een totaalbedrag van zo’n één miljard euro. Om het tienjarige bestaan van zowel ECR als SPUI25 te vieren én in het bjizonder het succesvolle onderzoek aan de UvA nodigen we in het najaar een aantal van de UvA-laureaten uit om te vertellen over hun onderzoek.Marieke de Goede (Foto: Jeroen Oerlemans)Over de spreker

Source: Baanbrekend en Bekroond: topwetenschappers over hun onderzoek – SPUI25

Do not blame it on the algorithm at IC2S2

We presented our research on the impact of algorithmic design on diversity of the output at the 3rd International Conference on Computational Social Science in Cologne. Algorithms preform a lot better than we expected, at least when they select articles from a broadsheet newspaper.


New study for European Parliament about ePrivacy proposal

Together with colleagues from IViR, Frederik, published a new study, “An assessment of the Commission’s Proposal on Privacy and Electronic Communications” (by Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius, Joris van Hoboken, Ronan Fahy, Kristina Irion, and Max Rozendaal).

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, appraises the European Commission’s proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation. The study assesses whether the proposal would ensure that the right to the protection of personal data, the right to respect for private life and communications, and related rights enjoy a high standard of protection. The study also highlights the proposal’s potential benefits and drawbacks more generally. The proposed ePrivacy Regulation aims to protect privacy on the internet, and includes rules on, for instance, online tracking.

Read the full study here.

Frederik presented the preliminary results at the European Parliament. A video is available here (from 26:00 minutes on).

Earlier this year, Frederik also spoke at the European Parliament about the ePrivacy proposal, video here.