Bridging the US Political Divide Online: What We've Learned from Big Data, Bots and Volunteers to Challenge Polarization

Monday, March 5, 2018 - 5:00pm

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 polarizing filter bubbles on Facebook and Twitter, then uses social media bots to engage with relevant people, and finally organizes a network of trained volunteers to move identified users towards constructive engagement with each other and with the phenomenon of polarization.

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. Dinner will be served. Please RSVP here!

Hosted by MIT Radius and Build Up.