On February 26, 2016, Data & Society held the Who Controls the Public Sphere in an Era of Algorithms? workshop to drill into the assumptions, values, and tensions at the core of growing concerns about the control and shaping of the public sphere in an era of algorithms.
The workshop was organized as part of Data & Society’s developing Algorithms and Publics project and was informed by – and produced – a set of documents for understanding what’s at stake (thanks to workshop participants for contributing to and strengthening this work):
- Mediation, Automation, Power, a contemporary issues primer
- Assumptions and Questions, a background primer
- Case Studies, a complement to the contemporary issues primer
- Executive Summary for Workshop
- Workshop Summary, extended notes from the workshop
We’ve also begun publishing additional pieces inspired by the workshop and its themes in Data & Society’s Points collection:
- Ethan Zuckerman, Ben Franklin, the Post Office and the Digital Public Sphere
- Fenwick McKelvey, No More Magic Algorithms: Cultural Policy in an Era of Discoverability
- danah boyd, Facebook Must Be Accountable to the Public
And research analyst Robyn Caplan pulled together some threads from this work in an op-ed on Facebook and journalism in NYT’s Room for Debate.
Who Controls the Public Sphere in an Era of Algorithms? was supported by Open Society Foundations and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Social network analysis image, above, courtesy of Vanessa Kitzie.