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Facebook Announces its First Grants for Research on Social Media’s Impact on Democracy

For the study, more than 60 researchers were chosen from 30 academic institutions across 11 countries through a competitive peer review process by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the independent group Social Science One

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facebook, social media's democracy
Facebook said it did not play any role in the selection of the individuals or their projects and will have no role in directing the findings or conclusions of the research. Pixabay

Facebook has announced its first grants for independent research on social media’s impact on democracy that will investigate, among other things, the role of technology platforms in spread of misinformation.

Social media platforms have come under intense scrutiny around the world ever since allegations surfaced of Russian-linked accounts trying to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

For the study, more than 60 researchers were chosen from 30 academic institutions across 11 countries through a competitive peer review process by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the independent group Social Science One.

facebook, social media's democracy, elections
The projects also seek to provide a richer understanding of the relationship between social media platforms like Facebook and traditional news media, it added. Pixabay

These researchers will gain access to privacy-protected Facebook data.

“We hope this initiative will deepen public understanding of the role social media has on elections and democracy and help Facebook and other companies improve their products and practices,” Elliot Schrage, Vice President for Special Projects at Facebook and the company’s Strategic Initiatives Manager Chaya Nayak wrote in a blog post on Monday.

Facebook said it did not play any role in the selection of the individuals or their projects and will have no role in directing the findings or conclusions of the research.

social media's democracy, facebook
Social media platforms have come under intense scrutiny around the world ever since allegations surfaced of Russian-linked accounts trying to influence the 2016 US presidential election. Pixabay

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These grantees will seek to use access to Facebook data to better explain how political news is shared in European multiparty political systems and to understand how social events or technology platform changes influence communication behaviour such as spreading disinformation, among other issues, SSRC said.

The projects also seek to provide a richer understanding of the relationship between social media platforms like Facebook and traditional news media, it added. (IANS)

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Facebook Selects Six Projects from India for AI Ethics Research

Facebook announced the Ethics in AI research awards in June with a regional focus of India

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Facebook, India, AI
The winners, declared on Friday, included the top two submissions in each category. Pixabay

To encourage research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, Facebook has selected six projects from India that will focus on three key areas – governance, cultural diversity and operationalising ethics.

The winners, declared on Friday, included the top two submissions in each category.

Facebook announced the Ethics in AI research awards in June with a regional focus of India. The proposed budget should be within Rs 10,00,000 to Rs 20,00,000, Facebook said.

In the operationalising ethics category, the two selected projects include “Patient-Centric Frameworks for the Evaluation of AI-Enabled Medical Tests” that has Amit Sethi of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT Bombay) as the principal investigator and “Targeted Bias in Indian Media Outlets” that has Animesh Mukherjee of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur) as the principal investigator.

Facebook, India, AI
To encourage research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, Facebook has selected six projects from India that will focus on three key areas – governance, cultural diversity and operationalising ethics. Pixabay

One of the research projects picked for the governance category, “Ethical Implications of Delegating Decision-making Journey to AI Systems”, has Rahul De from the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM Bangalore)

The other project selected for the governance category, “A‘Public Law of Information’ for India”, has Sudhir Krishnaswamy from the Centre for Law and Policy Research as its principal investigator.

“Mitigating Bias in Face Recognition for Vast Regional Diversity in India” which has Richa Singh from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-Delhi) as principal investigator is one of the projects selected in the cultural diversity category.

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The other project is “Regulatory Impact Assessment of the National AI Market Place of India” which has Varadharajan Sridhar from the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-Bangalore) as principal investigator. (IANS)