Par­tic­i­pa­tion and diver­si­ty in tech­no­log­i­cal change

Fifth Edition of the Research Monitor on Information Intermediaries is devoted to central norms of a democratic public sphere.

For one and a half years we have been dealing with the question: How do social networks, video platforms, news aggregators and search engines affect the public discourse? We condense the results of current scientific studies and research projects on behalf of the Landesanstalt für Medien NRW.

The cur­rent issue (Ger­man) of the Research Mon­i­tor focus­es on the norms of par­tic­i­pa­tion and diver­si­ty as sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nents of a demo­c­ra­t­ic pub­lic sphere. If we use inter­me­di­ary appli­ca­tions, we basi­cal­ly con­sume more news and infor­ma­tion than if we do not use them. Yet they do not reflect the diver­si­ty of con­tent that is fun­da­men­tal­ly avail­able online. To under­stand why this is so, some knowl­edge is need­ed. Only then is it pos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy the set points that enable a diverse demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­course and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of many.

If we real­ly want to real­ize more diver­si­ty and par­tic­i­pa­tion, we must final­ly devote our­selves to the archi­tec­ture of inter­me­di­ate offer­ings. This means that we also have to deal with the devel­op­ment of algo­rith­mic sys­tems that select infor­ma­tion for us. This is nei­ther a niche topic, nor is it a pure­ly online phe­nom­e­non. It shapes our view of the world and the val­u­a­tion pat­terns accord­ing to which we act. To for­mu­late it bold­ly: What is made by usu­al­ly medi­um-aged, white, well-sit­u­at­ed men in the small cir­cle for suc­cess­ful enter­pris­es, repro­duces a com­plete­ly cer­tain and very lim­it­ed per­spec­tive on the world”, con­cludes Jaana Müller-Brehm, Pol­i­cy Advi­sor at iRights.Lab, from her work on the research monitor.

All issues are avail­able here (Ger­man).

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