Facebook partners with external researchers to study its impact on US election

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Facebook Inc said on Monday it’s partnering with external researchers to examine the impact of the social media site on society throughout the 2020 US presidential election.

The company said findings of the research will not be published until the middle of next year, at the earliest.

The initiative expands on its Social Science One project with professors who study political influences of social networking.

A group of 17 independent researchers from the fields of elections, democracy and social media will now work with Facebook’s own data scientists to design the studies.

The company expects between 200,000 and 400,000 users to opt into the project, which will log what they see and how they behave on the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

It will introduce targeted modifications to a participants’ experiences, such as advertisements or kinds of posts shown to them.

Facebook employees will supply aggregated data to the external academics to protect the privacy of those users.

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Online social networks have been drawing flak for what’s been known as a lax approach to fake news reports and misinformation campaigns, which some Dem-leaning political pundits consider boosted Republicans and affected the results of this 2016 presidential election.

Facebook said it would not cover the researchers or restrict them from publishing their findings, but is entitled to assess the research before its publication.

While not compensating researchers, Facebook will cover the costs of the study, such as payments to survey sellers, said Joshua Tucker, professor of politics at New York University and one of the project’s researchers.

Philanthropies backing the Social Science One project, which Facebook began organising in 2018, backed out last year citing the provider’s delay in delivering vowed data to researchers. It had said the delays were caused by privacy concerns.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco. Editing by Maju Samuel.

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