February 24, 2020

Facebook supports research on misinformation and polarization with $2 million commitment

By: Facebook Research

Facebook believes strongly in keeping people safe on our platforms while empowering them to build community. In November 2018, Mark Zuckerberg published a note that outlined our approach for content governance and enforcement, which included efforts such as publishing our Community Standards, investing in artificial intelligence that more effectively identifies harmful content, developing an independent Oversight Board, increasing transparency to create accountability, and enabling academic research in this space.

Our partnerships with outside experts are critical in addressing and understanding social challenges on communication platforms. “To advance our understanding of how technology impacts people and society, we’ve strengthened our commitment to conducting social science research in partnership with academics globally,” says Umer Farooq, who leads community integrity research at Facebook.

With this in mind, we are launching the 2020 Foundational Integrity Research: Misinformation and Polarization request for proposals. We will award $2 million in unrestricted gifts to support independent social science research on misinformation and polarization related to social communication technologies.

This opportunity is a continuation of the 2018 Integrity Foundational Research Awards and part of the Content Policy Research Initiative. Funding independent research is one of the numerous ways in which we engage with academic experts to increase transparency and build the best products for people and society. We also host faculty summits and working groups, and have regular discussions with academic partners on a range of challenges around content governance and enforcement, community and civic integrity, and more.

Through this RFP, we aim to support both foundational and applied research that will enrich the scientific community’s understanding of challenges related to misinformation, polarization, information quality, and conflict on social media and social technology platforms. A few domain areas of interest include health, politics, digital literacy, and news.

Our goal is to support the growth of the scientific community in these spaces and to contribute to a shared understanding across the broader industry on how social technology companies can address content governance challenges on their platforms. “Our collaboration with academic partners in the past has substantially contributed to our understanding of the fundamental challenges and opportunities facing society in relation to communication technology,” says Funda Kivran-Swaine, who leads civic and health integrity research at Facebook. “We look forward to receiving proposals from experts in this space.”

Proposals for this RFP are due Wednesday, May 6, at 5:00 p.m. AOE. For more information and to apply, visit the application page.