We were delighted to hear that JEDS/NWO decided to accept our grant proposal for studying personalised online news consumption! In the coming years, our team from the VU, UvA, CWI, and e-Science Center will automatically measure and analyse personalised online news consumption to find out whether online filter bubbles really exist and what effect they have on political knowledge and attitudes.
The SIDN fonds just announced that our proposal to develop a diversity toolkit to help media organizations to understand and to optimize for the quality and diversity of their recommendations in collaboration with Blendle. Blendle is an innovative Dutch online news platform that offers access to articles from more than 100 publishers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The project will start in early 2018.
Today we held a one-day workshop in which we brought together leading researchers in the field of news personalisation in Europe in collaboration with the Hans Bredow Institute in Hamburg. It was an inspiring exchange of thought on the conceptual and the empirical level.
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.
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.”
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.