LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

What will a more defensive social media industry do after Kogan?

I said in my NYT piece that banning was not the answer. We needed to work with them to address the very real problems that are facing our societies, based in part on the accelerant qualities of social media. Who is “we”? Not just governments, but also researchers (I cited some MIT research) and civil society. But that was before Aleksandr Kogan. If researchers cannot be trusted, why would data be given to them?

If the current furor dies down without meaningful change, critics worry that the problems might become even more entrenched. When the tech industry follows its natural impulses, it becomes even less transparent.

That would hamper any long-term understanding of the relationship between social media and political views, an urgent question in Germany, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the United States and many other places.

“To know the real interaction between populism and Facebook, you need to give much more access to researchers, not less,” said Paul-Jasper Dittrich, a German research fellow in digital economy at the Jacques Delors Institute.

Full article.

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