Social media can bring like-minded people together and be a powerful force for change. But they can also erode the norms and institutions of a democratic society by reinforcing factionalism, undermining constructive dialogue, and lending credence to misinformation.
Healthy democratic republics thrive on motivation and deliberation. Access to expertise and information motivates citizens to build meaningful narratives and take constructive action, and open, transparent forums create opportunities for productive deliberation and negotiation to take place.
The Deliberative Media Lab will address the problems posed by social media by analyzing the current media landscape and prescribing technologies and ethical practices that promote and foster the kind of effective deliberation that healthy democratic societies require.
The Lab is a part of the Democracy Initiative at UVA.