From the earliest days of the Internet, technologists envisioned many benefits: individual opportunities for social mobility beyond the confines of local circumstances; subversion of despotic control; the production of public goods like Wikipedia and open source software.
Much of this has come to pass. However, we can now also see some of the challenges that come with broad access to public communication channels: harassment; a credibility vacuum; a race to the bottom in the competition for attention; a triumph of mobilization within echo chambers over persuasion across political fault lines.
Technologists at social media companies (product managers, designers, and engineers) are the day to day policy makers of today’s social media landscape. With the growing power and reach of social media, it is critical that these technologists understand their potential to influence public discourse. And upon gaining that understanding, they must wield their power responsibly, taking into account broader impacts of their local decisions.
The Center for Social Media Responsibility (CSMR) will articulate principles and create metrics and tools that empower technologists to fulfill that responsibility. CSMR will offer a credible, independent forum where platform companies can participate in articulating what they should and shouldn’t be responsible for, and be a credible source for monitoring and certifying progress.
CSMR will also organize the best research and insights to help media consumers and media makers better understand how to operate in this media landscape.
Iffy Quotient can draw attention to issues that platforms may not be tracking / prioritizing, while creating public legitimacy for claims that platforms make about how well they are meeting public responsibilities.
Researchers at CSMR built machine learning (ML) tools to label accounts still operating today as possible Russian trolls.