The Sunday Show
The Sunday Show
Aug 1, 2021
Can social media algorithms help depolarize society?
Play • 47 min

This week's show features two interviews. The first is with Albert Fox Cahn, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project's (S.T.O.P.) founder and executive director, about a column he wrote in Wired magazine about problems with the twitter verification process that disadvantage activists. And second, I talk with Jonathan Stray, a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Human Compatible Artificial Intelligence at the University of California at Berkeley about whether social media can help depolarize society.

In May, Twitter relaunched its verification program and offered more clarification about how the process works following criticism and missteps, such as verifying fake accounts. I spoke to Albert Fox Cahn about the holes in the program, and how they affect journalists and activists.

There is an active debate the conditions in which and the extent to which social media plays a role in contributing to polarization and division in society. I spoke to Jonathan Stray about his new paper, Designing Recommender Systems to Depolarize, which turns that debate on its head- asking whether social media platforms could play a role in reducing division. Jonathan’s paper “examines algorithmic depolarization interventions with the goal of conflict transformation: not suppressing or eliminating conflict but moving towards more constructive conflict.”

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