Disinformation and ideologies of hate thrive on dominant social media platforms, whose algorithms and business models amplify partisan polarization and political extremism and enable voter suppression. As we approach the 2022 midterm elections, we will explore the threats that technology poses to democratic participation and reasoned political debate, as well as the promise that new technological tools and platforms hold for fostering a healthier democracy and civic culture. What role can philanthropy and the social sector play in reckoning with our current destructive and dysfunctional digital platforms? What new tech platforms and communities can we imagine and create that foster respectful discourse, strengthen social cohesion, and promote democratic pluralism? What technologies and tools can help strengthen civic and electoral participation?
The conversation featured Eli Pariser, co-director at New Public, Dr. Latanya Sweeney, Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Jenny Toomey, director of the Ford Foundation’s Catalyst Fund. Shelley Whelpton, senior managing director at Arabella Advisors, moderated the conversation.