Bridging the US Political Divide Online

Bridging the US Political Divide Online

What we Learned from using big data, bots and volunteers to challenge polarization

March 5, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Room 9-255

Current political events in the USA reveal social cohesion is fragmented and increasingly polarized. This limits the opportunity and desire for people to engage across political lines. Well-established models of conflict escalation signal that these constitute warning flags for future violent confrontations.
Social media is both a vehicle for perpetuating political polarization and also, for challenging it. Over the last six months, Build Up ran a pilot to address polarization on social media. The Commons identifies polarising filter bubbles on Facebook and Twitter, then uses social media bots to engage with relevant people, and finally organises a network of trained volunteers to move identified users towards constructive engagement with each other and with the phenomenon of polarisation.
At this event, we will share the results of a pilot project that explored social media interventions to address polarization. We will also have a conversation about political polarization and its embodiment online. This project is explicitly non-partisan — as is this event.