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The CITAP team attended Knight Foundation’s Informed: Conversations on Democracy in the Digital Age. The event brought together researchers, journalists, technologists, and policymakers to discuss the present and future of our public life as it plays out on the internet.

Deen Freelon and Alice Marwick participated in panel discussions on the role of popular culture and research provocations.

In the How Culture Wars Became Content Wars panel, Alice suggested:

Being more honest about the flaws of this country and the flaws of American History might provide people with that same sense of hidden insight or knowledge that they’re getting from conspiracy theories.

She also noted:

The biggest thing we need to do is stop amplifying conspiracy theories, and this is not just algorithmic amplification. This is about the amplification of conspiracy by politicians, political elites, pundits, and influencers.

Watch the full discussion:

Deen Freelon called for social science researchers to imagine a post-Twitter research agenda, saying “we need to be prepared for Twitter’s imminent collapse,” in one of several potential forms:

  • The platform could disappear from the net
  • It could transform into something completely different (the way MySpace did)
  • Twitter could decide to turn off its external APIs

He recommended prioritizing the study of YouTube, Reddit, and TikTok as other platforms that provide social relevance and data availability. “What comes next will depend on where the celebrities, journalists, politicians, and influencers go.”

Watch the full discussion:

 

You can watch the full discussions on the Informed event page.

 

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