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The Unfiltered Lens: Social Media as a Threat to Democracy

Project by Polygence alum Tara

The Unfiltered Lens: Social Media as a Threat to Democracy

Project's result

My project is going to be published in the winter issue of the Critical Debates in Humanities, Science and Global Justice on February 20th 2024 and featured on the journal website. I will also present my project at the Symposium of Rising Scholars in Spring of 2024.

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Summary

This paper delves into hidden forms of censorship, analyzing their origins, impact on society, and the manifestation of them through social media algorithms. The action of grouping similar viewpoints together restricts the diversity of information one is exposed to, creating biases. Relying on peer-reviewed articles published in academic journals on the topic of epistemology and media studies, documentaries, and books, this paper examines factors that contribute to creating censorship, including phenomena scholars refer to as “epistemic bubbles” and “echo chambers”, which have their roots in a pre-modern period. In addition to examining these problems, this paper explores potential solutions, such as interventions— “nudging” and “boosting,” which increase media literacy in users as well as leverage AI’s potential while acknowledging the limitations of these interventions. The paper elucidates that addressing these challenges demands a multifaceted approach. While scholars emphasize ethical AI implementations in resolving these biases, this paper argues that education reforms are crucial for fostering critical thinking and countering misinformation in our interconnected world. Well informed voters are fundamental in a functional democratic system, as parity of knowledge among voters concerning diverse viewpoints is imperative. Excluding certain perspectives in this context may lead to a lack of educated citizens, consequently undermining the suitability of their choices. Hence, ensuring proactive measures are in place can mitigate such challenges, offering a more equitable outcome in the election process.

Elisabeth

Elisabeth

Polygence mentor

MA Master of Arts

Subjects

History, Social Science, Literature

Expertise

Ethics, Epistemology, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Mind, History (American Civics, Government, Political Theory), Communications, Writing for Broadcast, Journalism, Video Art, Video Production, Creative Writing

Tara

Tara

Student

Hi! My name is Tara Sehdave and I am from San Diego, California. I am interested in pursuing political science in university in hopes of becoming a lawyer.

Graduation Year

2025

Project review

“My journey with this project has been profoundly enriching. Delving into the intricacies of the topics I sought to explore, I found myself immersed. Through dedicated effort and curiosity-driven exploration, I expanded my expertise but also deepened my passion for the subject matter. This experience has not only broadened my horizons but has also equipped me with valuable insights and skills that I will carry forward into future endeavors.”

About my mentor

“My experience with my mentor has been incredibly uplifting. Her unwavering support, wisdom, and encouragement have propelled me forward, helping me navigate challenges with determination. Her influence has been transformative, instilling in me a sense of resilience and gratitude that I carry with me every day. I am profoundly grateful for her mentorship.”