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  • Coverage: ComProp and the Tech Hearings

    5 September 2018

    Person at Tech Hearing

    Two of our project researchers were featured during the congressional testimony provided this week by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

    Lisa-Maria Neudert was quoted by Senator Kamala Harris. The exchange was captured by Slate’s April Glaser: 

    Sen. Harris: Would you agree that—I think it’s an obvious point—the more people that engage on the platform, the more potential there is for revenue generation for Facebook?

    Sandberg: Yes, senator. Only when the content is authentic—

    Sen. Harris: I appreciate that line. So the concern that many have is how we can reconcile an incentive to create and increase your user engagement when the content that generates a lot of engagement is often inflammatory and hateful. So for example, Lisa-Maria Neudert, a researcher at Oxford Internet Institute, she says, quote, “The content that’s most misleading or conspiratorial, that’s what’s generating the most discussion and the most engagement and that’s what the algorithm is designed to respond to.”

    Samantha Bradshaw spoke extensively to CNBC about the hearings:

    “I think Trump’s comment about Google’s algorithm being biased really distracts from a lot of these bigger debates that we need to be having as a society about how Google’s algorithms — as well as Facebook and Twitter and all these social media platforms — how they are really shaping our lives, how we interact with one another on social media, how we find political news and information,” Samantha Bradshaw, a researcher for the computational propaganda project at the Oxford Internet Institute, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

    “There are some really deep questions here and Trump’s claims about bias really distract away from some of those deeper, meaningful questions,” she added.