Showing posts with label trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trust. Show all posts

Monday, July 16, 2018

Invited to the Advisory Commission initiative by Facebook

I have been invited to be on the new advisory committee by Facebook to help scholars independently assess Facebook’s impact on elections, misinformation, privacy and other contemporary and critical issues regarding its usage.
 In April, Facebook announced it would be working with a group of academics to establish an independent research commission to look into issues of social and political significance using the company’s own extensive data collection. That commission, called Social Science One has just launched in early July. I will be on the Asian regional committee and partake in collaborations to assess the impact of Facebook in this region.

In the last two years, Facebook tools have not just helped politicians connect with their constituents — and different communities to debate the issues but as we have witnessed, it can be misused to manipulate and deceive. 

To keep this independent, it will be funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Democracy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

At the heart of this initiative will be a group of prominent and global scholars who will:
-          Define the research agenda;
-          Solicit proposals for independent research on a range of different topics; and
-          Manage a peer review process to select scholars who will receive funding for their research, as well as access to privacy-protected datasets from Facebook which they can analyze.

Facebook will not have any right to review or approve their research findings prior to publication. In consultation with the foundations funding the initiative, Facebook has invited respected academic experts to form a commission which will then develop a research agenda about the impact of social media on society — starting with elections. I am excited to be part of the commission to closely examine Facebook activities and its implications on democracy to help in constructing future policy decisions on platform transparency and accountability.

The issues to be addressed range across diverse research areas, namely Political Advertising, Civic Engagement, Election Integrity, Polarization and Disinformation. The regional advisory committees include Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the United States.

Along with a team of other academic experts, I will assist in surfacing research questions and variable requests for the datasets that will be shared as part of the project.  Scholars serving on these committees can apply for grants and data access as part of these processes.

The advisory committee will provide critical advice on how the project might be best tailored to deal with concerns and issues specific to different regions.  For example, as specific elections occur in the respective regions, country-specific datasets are developed for analysis. Moreover, certain academic surveys are region-specific and these committees may help facilitate the joining of Facebook data with such surveys. Finally, because different countries’ legal regulations, concerning privacy and research such as this, differ greatly, the advisory committee will assist the project in working with regulators to understand the limits and opportunities for the project in the respective regions. 

Anyway, a new adventure awaits with this unique opportunity! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New article out on big data and the global south

Last year, I initiated the Privacy and the global South Project with fieldwork on digital privacy in the favelas of Brazil, townships of South Africa and the slums of India. Its been an exciting year and while at it, big data is one of those topics that dominate this discussion. So, wrote a thought piece on this for Discover Society which just came out. Check it out if you are interested in how conversations on surveillance, privacy, big data and trust transfer to this much neglected setting and populace. 
Big data and the global south project


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Past as a friendly ghost: The art world all over again…

It’s been almost a decade since I left the art world to pursue academia. From convincing CEOs and their interior designer sidekicks to buy a Toy painting from the Warhol series for the children’s room to now convincing students to learn how to communicate when selling themselves and their ideas, things have changed somewhat. But it’s hard to forget the adrenaline of clinching a deal, of convincing your client that a Chagall lithograph was meant for them as you dimmed the lights in the viewing room, got them to nurse some wine and relax on the leather couch in the privacy of the gallery room. In my na├»ve days, I thought information deeply mattered. I thought a buyer would be interested and would demand knowledge on the background of the artist, their historical significance, the artistic significance of the piece to the provenance of the artwork. Yet over time, you get to realize that decision-making is a more irrational process and rationality comes often after the deal is done to justify one’s choice. It has to fit with the art deco theme in the house or perhaps there is a romance with the location of the subject matter in the painting or loyalty towards the nationality of the artist. Indeed, this is information too but of a different sort, less intuitively connected and more personalized to the client. This was the real job of the art dealer, to get to detect the unique information that is needed to make the deal go through. Some called it intuition, some called it a matter of patience and then some called it good listening…the client always tells you if you’re willing to listen. That said, much of such mediations happened face to face. Even at the peak of the dot com bubble in San Francisco in the 1990s, it was a big deal to do transactions over email and the phone. There was fear that the client would slip away, would not need the dealer anymore; that the process of buying was emotive and that was possible more face to face than online. It was about building relationships and virtual connections did not serve well in building trust. Sure, one used the phone and email to keep the client reminded of one’s presence, of diversifying the means through which we could serve as a nagging presence in the back of their minds until they decided on buying the art piece. But there was no question of the gallery becoming defunct for the tradition of selling art. Yet, in today’s information and digital age, has the game changed radically in the art world? Are we still holding onto age-old gatekeepers and their possibly redundant traditions in connecting the buyer to the seller, the customer to the art, the gallery to the artist? How is trust being established as the art world goes online? Will the mass dictate now and the dealer listen? How closed are the gates to the art world and who is entering now? So more than a decade later, I find myself back at the gallery doorstep, contemplating its new fate and the role of art dealers in mediating information within this (once elite?) gated community.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Internet, EVERYbody knows you’re a dog


Online anonymity is overrated.

Trust.

The "real" and the "fictitious" identity socialize in cyberspace.

Deception online may not be a morality issue when everybody is doing it; when everybody EXPECTS you to do it; and sometimes, mass deception becomes fantasy, when everybody WANTS you to do it.

When it becomes routine social practice, it becomes the norm.

Masquerades become carnivals, become temporary and recurring pleasure. "tootsie23@" tells her story for everybody to read. Is it really relevant to know how authentic "tootsie23@" is? Can we use the same moral compass that we apply to books and journals, newspapers and all other kinds of conventional print to online pontifications? The sacredness of print reminds us of its age, its stature - it provides the comfort zone.

Even in masquerades, when we reveal ourselves in plain sight, we are still part of the carnival. We are still playing a part. As long as the carnival is going on, we are seen in costume, whether it is true or not.

Perception is reality.