The Hewlett Foundation recently launched a fund to research how digital disinformation is affecting political polarization and undermining U.S. democracy, and what can be done about it. One challenge has been securing data access from online platforms. In April, an agreement was reached with Facebook to make data available to scholars, in privacy-protected ways, to better understand how Facebook is impacting elections, and democracy, globally. The agreement brings together seven funders from across the ideological spectrum. The Social Science Research Council will play a key role. The council is one of the most respected institutions working globally to foster research on important public issues and will be engaged at every stage of this work: announcing requests for proposals, selecting and awarding funds to scholars, and translating learnings to the public.
About the Grantee
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Grants to this Grantee
for the Digital Platforms and the Public Interest Project
The Social Science Research Council was founded in 1923 by seven disciplinary associations to support social science in the public interest. This grant will support a one-year project to convene a group of senior, mid-career, and early-career economists to investigate the potential for an investment in economics research on digital platforms. The project will (a) survey the existing economics literature on digital platforms, (b) identify open research questions that could lead to important new evidence about digital platforms, (c) consider the potential implications of the proposed research agenda for new policy and regulatory frameworks, and (d) consider the potential implications of the proposed research agenda for new intellectual frameworks in the discipline of economics.
for planning of a long-term program on Anxieties of Democracy
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is a unique organization focused on supporting and shaping the field of social science research. SSRC supports new generations of social scientists, fosters innovative research, and helps to mobilize knowledge on important public issues. The SSRC works with practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in the social sciences and related fields to build international, interdisciplinary networks, link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public access to information. SSRC awards fellowships and grants, convenes workshops and conferences, conducts research and facilitates research, and produces print and online publications. This grant will support planning for a new focus area, "Anxieties of Democracy", which will explore whether and how democratic institutions can effectively address large-scale challenges around 1) capitalism and the economy, 2) alleviating class hierarchies, 3) addressing global instability, 4) balancing national security and civil liberty.