Over the next few months, we will launch a series of research studies designed to determine how to redesign social media for more productive political conversations.

We have created a mobile chat platform that allows us to run experiments where we peel back the layers of social media in order to learn how to make it better.

This new research tool allows us to “turn on” and “turn off” different components of social media in an experimental setting including:

  • the level of anonymity

  • the criterion used to recommend who to friend or follow

  • the existence of a social reputation system

By recruiting people to complete surveys before we pay study participants to use our platform, we can match them to discuss a political issue in carefully curated pairs—according to their political interests, non-political interests, or other personal attributes.

All of these data will then be analyzed via the most sophisticated machine learning models in order to learn how to match people who our science shows are likely to have the most productive political conversations.

© 2020 The Polarization Lab at Duke University

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Duke University