Research Seminar: Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing

Professor Chris Bail will deliver this research seminar focusing on the effects of the use of social psychology in social media.

In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. We use social media as a mirror to decipher our place in society but, as Chris Bail explains, it functions more like a prism that distorts our identities, empowers status-seeking extremists, and renders moderates all but invisible. Bail’s research challenges common myths about echo chambers, foreign misinformation campaigns, and radicalizing algorithms, revealing that the solution to political tribalism lies deep inside ourselves. Drawing on innovative online experiments and in-depth interviews with social media users from across the political spectrum, he explains why stepping outside of our echo chambers can make us more polarized, not less.

Chris Bail is Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Data Science at Duke University, where he directs the Polarization Lab. His research examines fundamental questions of social psychology using social media data, bots, and the latest advances in machine learning. Chris is the recipient of Guggenheim and Carnegie Fellowships, and he has written for the New York Times and Washington Post as well as appearing on NBC Nightly News, CBS, CNN, and the BBC. He regularly consults with corporations, non-profits, and governments. His most recent book is Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing.

Please contact mediaresearchsupport@leeds.ac.uk before 12pm on 10 November to request an invitation.