47 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2021
    1. In 2017, Chris Cox, Facebook’s longtime chief product officer, formed a new task force to understand whether maximizing user engagement on Facebook was contributing to political polarization. It found that there was indeed a correlation, and that reducing polarization would mean taking a hit on engagement. In a mid-2018 document reviewed by the Journal, the task force proposed several potential fixes, such as tweaking the recommendation algorithms to suggest a more diverse range of groups for people to join. But it acknowledged that some of the ideas were “antigrowth.” Most of the proposals didn’t move forward, and the task force disbanded. Since then, other employees have corroborated these findings. A former Facebook AI researcher who joined in 2018 says he and his team conducted “study after study” confirming the same basic idea: models that maximize engagement increase polarization. They could easily track how strongly users agreed or disagreed on different issues, what content they liked to engage with, and how their stances changed as a result. Regardless of the issue, the models learned to feed users increasingly extreme viewpoints. “Over time they measurably become more polarized,” he says.
    1. The lone Black delegate to the convention, Isaiah Montgomery, participated in openly suppressing the voting eligibility of most of those Black men, in the hope that this would reduce the terror, intimidation and hostility that white supremacists aimed at Black people.

      This is interesting because Montgomery essentially sacrificed a part of his community and his heritage in the name of peace and compromise without being certain of the results. This makes me consider the present day political climate, particular, the way that neither side is willing to make concessions (especially the people power).

  2. Feb 2021
    1. This is just one study, of course, and these are complicated social realities. I think it is fair to say that our pundits and social critics can no longer make the easy assumption that the web and the blogosphere are echo-chamber amplifiers. But whether or not this study proves to be accurate, one thing is certain. The force that enables these unlikely encounters between people of different persuasions, the force that makes the web a space of serendipity and discovery, is precisely the open, combinatorial, connective nature of the medium. So when we choose to take our text out of that medium, when we keep our words from being copied, linked, indexed, that’s a choice with real civic consequences that are not to be taken lightly.

      These words certainly didn't take into account the focusing factor that social media algorithms based on surveillance capitalism and attention seeking clicks and engagement would inflict in the coming decade.

  3. Jan 2021
  4. Dec 2020
    1. KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) @KFF (2020) RT @KFF @DrewAltman discusses two fundamental policy decisions made by the Trump administration that set the U.S. on the controversial an…

  5. Nov 2020
    1. Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?
    2. political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have long tracked historical trends in political polarization, said their studies of congressional votes found that Republicans are now more conservative than they have been in more than a century. Their data show a dramatic uptick in polarization, mostly caused by the sharp rightward move of the GOP.
    3. And Mike Lofgren, a veteran Republican congressional staffer, wrote an anguished diatribe last year about why he was ending his career on the Hill after nearly three decades. “The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,” he wrote on the Truthout Web site.

      An interesting example with some inflamatory rhetoric, but coupled with his resignation which is all he has left...

  6. Oct 2020
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  12. Mar 2020
    1. Political Polarization

      And important: the role media plays in political polarization. On this topic, I've found works from the Pew useful, like "U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided":

      "As the U.S. enters a heated 2020 presidential election year, a new Pew Research Center report finds that Republicans and Democrats place their trust in two nearly inverse news media environments."

      Also useful are works from Data & Society like "Media, Technology, Politics: six new pieces on the networked public sphere"

      "Although many people are anxious to understand how much influence old and new media had over the US presidential election, the reality is that we will never know comprehensively. We can, though, seek to understand how different cultural and technical factors are shaping the contemporary information landscape."

  13. Oct 2019
    1. Liberal and Conservative Representations of the Good Society: A (Social) Structural Topic Modeling Approach

      I chose this article, because it is timely, relevant, easy-to-follow (because it is intuitive), and innovative (using data sources, Twitter, and an innovative method, textual analysis). I hope you enjoy the reading. Please follow my annotations (comments + questions) and respond to the questions I pose. Try to answer them in your own words.

  14. Sep 2018
    1. “The ether is a public medium,” he insisted, “and its use must be for the public benefit.”

      The deregulation of the 90s, consolidating ownership, had consequences. unintended and unanticipated or not.

  15. Feb 2017
    1. Donald Trump’s obvious affection for authoritarians is prompting worried comparisons of our polarized country to the polarized Germany of the 1920s and ’30s. Since I’m known to see in polarization both crisis and opportunity, my friends are asking me these days about Hitler, the worst-case scenario.

      Polarization Can Be Good

  16. Dec 2016
    1. That evidence shows that partisans who score highest on a standard measure of AOT are in fact the most polarized on the reality of human-caused climate change.
  17. Nov 2016
    1. Best piece I’ve seen on last week’s announcements.

      Gruber had linked to Michael Tsai’s roundup of the backlash, calling it “must-read stuff”. In this case, though, Gruber is “throwing his hat in the ring”. And the ring now feels like the site of a burgeoning flamewar. Issue is, here, that the “war” is happening about people who actually enjoy Apple’s products. This isn’t the “religious wars” between Macs and PCs or between Fandroids and Apple fanbois. It’s a whole argument between people who have been purchasing Apple computers and wanted updated ones. A well-known lesson from social psychology is that group polarization deepens divides by encouraging extreme positions. Chuq Von Rospach’s piece contains several comments which could be qualified as “extreme”. And it puts the blame on those who disagree. There are similar pieces on the other side of the equation, surely. Tsai’s roundup should make it possible to identify them. But Gruber has yet to link to them (apart from arguing about specific points like Tim Cook’s quote on the irrelevance of “PCs” and trying to set the record straight on Apple and Intel sharing responsibility for the 16GB limits on new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro desktop replacements).

      As an example of the effect of group polarization: my own perspective is that disappointment is real. Wasn’t impressed by what transpired from last week’s announcement. Feeling a bit more excited about the Microsoft Surface Studio than about the Touch Bar, but will likely not buy either any time soon. Because polarization forces me to take sides, my vote would go for the “there’s a serious problem, here”. Not saying Apple is doomed or that each of the problems discussed is a tragedy. But, to me, what is being thrown around sounds quite reasonable, not “trivial and petty”. Can’t be on Von Rospach’s side if that’s where the line is drawn. “You’re either with us or against us.” If you force me to choose, well, bye bye!