We were happy to learn that a part of the national final highschool exams in the Netherlands (the eindexamen maatschappijwetenschappen vwo) featured an excerpt from a blog post we wrote earlier about the findings from our research. Referring to polarization, students were asked questions about the role of the media and of media regulators.
The exam (and the answers) are also available online.
We organize a new RPA Personalised Communication Symposium:
Title: Is there a misinformation crisis?
Date/Time: June 5, 15.00-16.30 hours
Speakers: Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (University of Oxford), member of the High level expert group on Fake News and online disinformation); Tarlach McGonagle (IViR); Amelie Heldt (HBI)
Chair: Natali Helberger
Location: IViR – Institute for Information Law: REC A
Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam
We cordially invite everyone who is interested to this Symposium being organised by the RPA Personalised Communication.
The public and academic debate over the scope and consequences of the Misinformation crisis is raging. The term Fake News is widely critiqued and a new vocabulary to describe, analyse, and address the challenges of the new information environment is being developed. The EU High Level Group finished its recommendations and the European Commission is now launching a series of measures to deal with this phenomenon. In this event, we first have Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (Oxford University) and Member of the High Level Group report on the work, conclusion, and current follow up of the HLG. He will offer a lecture on this topic. His presentation is followed by a short response and intervention by Amelie Heldt (Hans Bredow Institute) from the perspective of current German interventions and laws. Next, Tarlach McGonagle (University of Amsterdam) will offer his vision on the topic from a Fundamental Rights perspective. The interventions are followed by Q&A and debate, moderated by Professor Natali Helberger.
If you plan to come, please register by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Judith and Damian were invited to join the Expert Symposium on Integrating and Analyzing Data from Surveys and Social Media (see the hashtag on Twitter), hosted by Center for Advanced Internet Studies and Gesis. We shared our experiences on collecting tracking data and combining them with survey datas.
Damian presenting some of our insights from tracking data
Claes featured in a 25 min interview on The Open Mind on US public television, speaking about the current information crisis and populism in an international perspective. See the episode here.
Affiliate member Magdalena Wojcieszak got awarded a prestigious ERC grant:
Europeans Exposed to Dissimilar Views in the Media: Investigating Backfire Effects
In many countries, hostility, distrust, and intolerance are on the rise. In this context, scholars claim that encountering dissimilar arguments fosters tolerance, and policymakers promote exposure to different views in the media. Yet, these efforts can make people more extreme and more hostile toward the other side. Magdalena Wojcieszak’s project will use online behaviour tracking, automated content analyses, panel surveys, qualitative work, and experiments in four countries to address a fundamental question: Under which conditions exactly does exposure to dissimilar views in the media amplify or attenuate hostilities among citizens with different opinions? The results will offer insights for scholars, policymakers and practitioners working on media diversity and social cohesion.
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.
Damian and Judith gave a talk at Bessensap, an annual event organized by the Dutch Science Foundation, where scholars present their work to science journalists. In their talk, they gave an overview over their finished and ongoing research, highlighting the discrepancy between popular beliefs about around filter bubbles and algorithmic news recommendation and empirical evidence.
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.
Damian wrote a blogpost in which he comments on the current debate on the role of algorithms. He argues that – while there are valid reasons to be concerned – critics who see algoritms as evil or scary per se, miss the point and hinder a constructive debate.
Het fascinerende spookbeeld: Hoe irrationele argumenten het debat over kunstmatige intelligentie bemoeilijken
On Tuesday, Damian gave a lecture “Big Data: Why social scientists should care” at the Amsterdam Research Initiative, discussing the role of Big Data in society as well as in research. He argued that social scientists on the one hand have to observe the role of so-called Big Data as a societal phenomenon, but on the other hand also can make use of these techniques to answer social-scientific research questions. Directly before, he had given a two-day workshop on the use of Python to answer social-scientific research questions at Radboud University Nijmegen.