The Institute for Rebooting Social Media is a three-year, “pop-up” research initiative to accelerate progress towards addressing social media’s most urgent problems, including misinformation, privacy breaches, harassment, and content governance. By convening participants across industry, government, civil society, and academia in focused, timebound collaboration, theInstitutewill build a portfolio of research, projects, programming, and educational opportunities to improve the state of the digital social space.
The goal of the new (and, by design, ephemeral) Institute is to spur real, practical changes in how online social media works. It aims to help generate, identify, elevate, and connect work across disciplines and sectors, and to see how efforts in one sector or mode -- say, technical -- might mesh with efforts elsewhere -- such as in the legal and policy realm.
A cornerstone of the Institute is its sociotechnical approach. Institute participants will analyze the benefits, risks, and possibilities of networked communication using broad perspectives from science, law, public governance, economics, and other fields. Through this collaborative and holistic approach, the Institute will enable online ecosystems that encourage technical and social innovation while using intentional design to mitigate social harms.
Collaboratively, Institute participants will test under-discussed ideas and develop new ones; build prototype tools and protocols, whether in technical terms or as new institutions or institutional relationships; develop policies enriched by attention to sociotechnical issues; and encourage accurate and accessible narratives about social media.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies have committed generous donations to support the initiative.
To learn more about the pop-up Institute’s strategic vision, its soft launch in fall 2021, and its full launch in the spring semester of 2022, sign up to receive updates here.