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Opinion forming in the digital age

Opinion forming in the digital age
Opinion forming in the digital age
The Internet provides fast and ubiquitous communication that enables all kinds of communities and provides citizens with easy access to vast amounts of information, although the information is not necessarily verified and may present a distorted view of real events or facts. The Internet’s power as an instant source of mass information can be used to influence opinions, which can have far-reaching consequences.

This report’s purpose is to provide input into the advisory processes that determine European support for research into the effects and management of Fake News (e.g. deliberate misinformation), Echo Chambers (e.g. closed communities where biases can be reinforced through lack of diversity in opinions), and the Internet’s influence on social and political movements such as Populism; to provide insight into how innovation that takes these aspects into account can be supported. To address this aim, this report concerns socio-technical implications of the Internet related to the impact of closed communities and misinformation and makes recommendations derived from a consultation with domain experts concerning the research needed to address specific challenges.

This study has used the Delphi Method, an iterative consultation mechanism aimed at consensus building within a targeted panel of experts. Three rounds of iteration were undertaken and a total of fourteen experts participated in all three rounds. The result of the consultation is 67 assertion statements that reached consensus amongst the experts in five broad themes, and these are presented in this report and summarised into key recommendations.

The key overarching recommendation is that we need to understand how opinions are formed and are influenced in the current digital age. Investigations are needed to understand the underlying cognitive and emotional processes that enable peoples’ opinions to be influenced in the context of a hybrid media system that mixes online and offline channels and broadcast and interactive social media.
HUB4NGI Consortium
Taylor, Steve
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Boniface, Michael
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Pickering, Brian
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Grace, Paul
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Bakir, Vian
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boyd, danah
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Engesser, Sven
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Epstein, Robert
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Fawzi, Nayla
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Fernbach, Philip
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Fisher, Dana, R
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Gardner, Beth Gharrity
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Jacobs, Kristof
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Jacobson, Susan
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Krämer, Benjamin
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Kucharski, Adam
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McStay, Andrew
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Mercier, Hugo
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Metzger, Miriam
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Polletta, Francesca
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Quattrociocchi, Walter
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Sloman, Steven
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Sperber, Dan
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Spierings, C.H.B.M.
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Wardle, Claire
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Zollo, Fabiana
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Zubiaga, Arkaitz
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Taylor, Steve
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Boniface, Michael
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Pickering, Brian
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Grace, Paul
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Bakir, Vian
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Engesser, Sven
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Epstein, Robert
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Fawzi, Nayla
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Fernbach, Philip
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Fisher, Dana, R
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Gardner, Beth Gharrity
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Jacobs, Kristof
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Jacobson, Susan
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Krämer, Benjamin
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Kucharski, Adam
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McStay, Andrew
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Mercier, Hugo
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Metzger, Miriam
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Polletta, Francesca
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Quattrociocchi, Walter
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Sloman, Steven
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Sperber, Dan
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Spierings, C.H.B.M.
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Wardle, Claire
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Zollo, Fabiana
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Zubiaga, Arkaitz
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Taylor, Steve, Boniface, Michael, Pickering, Brian, Grace, Paul, Bakir, Vian, boyd, danah, Engesser, Sven, Epstein, Robert, Fawzi, Nayla, Fernbach, Philip, Fisher, Dana, R, Gardner, Beth Gharrity, Jacobs, Kristof, Jacobson, Susan, Krämer, Benjamin, Kucharski, Adam, McStay, Andrew, Mercier, Hugo, Metzger, Miriam, Polletta, Francesca, Quattrociocchi, Walter, Sloman, Steven, Sperber, Dan, Spierings, C.H.B.M., Wardle, Claire, Zollo, Fabiana and Zubiaga, Arkaitz (2018) Opinion forming in the digital age Geneva. HUB4NGI Consortium 75pp. (doi:10.5281/zenodo.1468575).

Record type: Monograph (Project Report)

Abstract

The Internet provides fast and ubiquitous communication that enables all kinds of communities and provides citizens with easy access to vast amounts of information, although the information is not necessarily verified and may present a distorted view of real events or facts. The Internet’s power as an instant source of mass information can be used to influence opinions, which can have far-reaching consequences.

This report’s purpose is to provide input into the advisory processes that determine European support for research into the effects and management of Fake News (e.g. deliberate misinformation), Echo Chambers (e.g. closed communities where biases can be reinforced through lack of diversity in opinions), and the Internet’s influence on social and political movements such as Populism; to provide insight into how innovation that takes these aspects into account can be supported. To address this aim, this report concerns socio-technical implications of the Internet related to the impact of closed communities and misinformation and makes recommendations derived from a consultation with domain experts concerning the research needed to address specific challenges.

This study has used the Delphi Method, an iterative consultation mechanism aimed at consensus building within a targeted panel of experts. Three rounds of iteration were undertaken and a total of fourteen experts participated in all three rounds. The result of the consultation is 67 assertion statements that reached consensus amongst the experts in five broad themes, and these are presented in this report and summarised into key recommendations.

The key overarching recommendation is that we need to understand how opinions are formed and are influenced in the current digital age. Investigations are needed to understand the underlying cognitive and emotional processes that enable peoples’ opinions to be influenced in the context of a hybrid media system that mixes online and offline channels and broadcast and interactive social media.

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Opinion Forming in the Digital Age - Public Recommendations v1.0 - Author's Original
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Published date: 22 October 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 426304
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/426304
PURE UUID: a8fa6f6c-0788-435f-8339-1ea917d1a3b4
ORCID for Brian Pickering: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6815-2938
ORCID for Paul Grace: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2363-0630

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Date deposited: 22 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 08 Aug 2020 01:38

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Contributors

Author: Steve Taylor
Author: Michael Boniface
Author: Brian Pickering ORCID iD
Author: Paul Grace ORCID iD
Author: Vian Bakir
Author: danah boyd
Author: Sven Engesser
Author: Robert Epstein
Author: Nayla Fawzi
Author: Philip Fernbach
Author: Dana, R Fisher
Author: Beth Gharrity Gardner
Author: Kristof Jacobs
Author: Susan Jacobson
Author: Benjamin Krämer
Author: Adam Kucharski
Author: Andrew McStay
Author: Hugo Mercier
Author: Miriam Metzger
Author: Francesca Polletta
Author: Walter Quattrociocchi
Author: Steven Sloman
Author: Dan Sperber
Author: C.H.B.M. Spierings
Author: Claire Wardle
Author: Fabiana Zollo
Author: Arkaitz Zubiaga

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