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The 2016 American elections intensified popular as well as scholarly interest in the relationship between media and democracy on topics like fake news, information bubbles, and algorithmic propaganda.

“Social Media and Democracy: Assessing the State of the Field and Identifying Unexplored Questions” was the Media & Democracy program’s inaugural event. It convened researchers as part of a two-day conference to assess the current literature on social media and democracy, and  set a research agenda for the field moving forward.

Conference chairs:

Nate Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Stanford University
Diana Mutz, Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Conference hosts:
Media & Democracy Program, Social Science Research Council
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Stanford University
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

With support from:
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Democracy Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


Thursday, April 19

8:30 – 9:00 am: Registration and Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 am: Opening Remarks

9:30 – 11:00 am: Inflammatory Speech and Incivility Online

Susan Benesch, Harvard University
Bryan Gervais, University of Texas, San Antonio
Diana Mutz, University of Pennsylvania
Monica Stephens, University of Buffalo

11:00 – 11:30 am: Coffee Break

11:30 – 1:00 pm: Distribution and Effects of Fake News

Renee DiResta, Data for Democracy
Kelly Garrett, The Ohio State University
David Rand, Yale University
Josh Tucker, New York University

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 pm: Correcting Disinformation

Jonathan Albright, Columbia University
Matt Baum, Harvard University
Adam J. Berinsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Matt Gentzkow, Stanford University
Emily Thorson, Syracuse University

3:30 pm: Adjourn

Friday, April 20

8:30 – 9:00 am: Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 am: Homophily in the Social Media Sphere

Damon Centola, University of Pennsylvania
Shanto Iyengar, Stanford University
Jaime Settle, College of William and Mary

10:30 – 10:45 a.m: Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:15 pm: Globalization of the Marketplace of Ideas

Nina Jankowicz, The Wilson Center
Linda Kinstler, Freelance Journalist
Jennifer Pan, Stanford University

12:15 – 1:30 pm: Concluding Discussion Over Lunch