Yale University is among the recipients of new grants from the Knight Foundation to fund research into the impact of technology on democracy.
John Sands, Knight’s director of learning and impact, said it seems that the quality of much of the information circulating in the larger news ecosystem has declined -- and many of the reasons for that are not well understood.
“We have made it our approach to not take sides,” he said, “but instead to invest in some basic research that helps better understand the issues and also to help inform some of the policy solutions that might help address them.”
Grant recipients include universities, think tanks and advocacy organizations. Among the areas they’ll explore are misinformation and disinformation.
Sands said the market power of digital platforms will be another focus of research, “and the power of those platforms to help shape the information diets of Americans. And also, some issues around free expression, free speech.”
Sands said the Knight Foundation believes a new field of inquiry is emerging -- and it wants to support independent research into issues at the forefront of the national tech policy debates.