The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation proposed $3.5 million for research on technology policy and debates in the realm.
Part of the foundation’s $50 million commitment to support research on how technology transforms democracy and how people are informed, grants are planned to be given to 22 Universities, think tanks and advocacy organisations, all selected through an ongoing open funding opportunity. The goal is to study topics including content moderation by social media companies, antitrust enforcement in big tech and how social media informs the national civic conversation.
‘These issues are moving faster than we can evaluate and analyse them. We need to close the knowledge gap, if our society is going to make smart decisions about how to ensure technology strengthens democracy rather than weakening it,’ said Sam Gill, vice president at Knight Foundation. ‘Knight is investing in and supporting this research to ensure that a diverse range of views and a body of real evidence informs urgent policy debates. How we answer the questions of today will shape the American democracy of tomorrow.’
The US House of Representatives and Senate recently held hearings on questions including technology companies’ use of algorithms and their accountability in enabling online extremism and violence. Revision of the Communications Decency Act, which protects companies from legal liability over content posted by their users, has been questioned in this case.