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Bloch school duo earn $200K grant towards effort to disrupt social media echo chambers


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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Editor’s be aware: The next story was initially revealed by the College of Missouri-Kansas Metropolis. Click on here to learn the unique story.

In the digital realm the place algorithms reign supreme, Alex Krause Matlack and Bryan C. Boots from the UMKC Henry W. Bloch College of Administration goal to create a instrument that disrupts the social media panorama, because of a $200,000 grant from the Web Society Basis.


Alex Krause Matlack speaks throughout a First Tuesdays occasion in October 2023 at UMKC; Startland Information picture

Social media is a double-edged sword. It has the facility to deliver individuals collectively and the facility to maintain individuals collectively in echo chambers. These digital environments expose customers to info that reinforces their pre-existing views, successfully trapping individuals in an algorithmic cycle that filters out any opposing info.

“We’re doing this to make sure that we ‘construct the appropriate instrument’, not simply ‘construct the instrument proper,’” mentioned Boots, an affiliate instructing professor on the Bloch College and managing director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Due to Matlack, Boots and their collaborators, this downside might have an answer.

“We goal to create a free, open-source instrument that may empower on a regular basis customers of social media to extend the variety of data and posts of their social media feed,” Boots mentioned.

Matlack and Boots are within the analysis part of their grant, engaged on a number of smaller initiatives aimed toward serving to them learn the way and why individuals use social media.

“We’re doing this to make sure that we ‘construct the appropriate instrument,’ not simply ‘construct the instrument proper,’” Boots mentioned.

Click on here to learn extra concerning the Web Society Basis’s grant winners.

Matlack and Boots had been additionally awarded further funding from the Bloch College to take part within the school alternate program between UMKC and the College of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa. This chance allowed them to collaborate with Oghenerhe G. Salubi from the Division of Library and Info Science at UWC.

“This has allowed us to broaden our analysis to higher perceive how on-line social community utilization is in Africa, significantly, South Africa,” mentioned Matlack, who serves as director of Entrepreneurship Students at UMKC.

As Matlack and Boots close to the event part of their grant, the pair hopes their work will provoke broader and steady analysis efforts that study the consequences of the web and social media on society.

The Web Society Basis is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company with a mission to advertise the event and accessibility of the web globally by funding initiatives with the same focus.
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