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The academic institute, a new initiative from Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society (BKCIS), is being funded with $2m (£1.5m) from the John S. and John L. Knight Foundation, as well as Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
“While the identification of problems may vary, it’s hard to find anyone defending the current environment of social media,” says BKCIS co-founder Jonathan Zittrain.
“It’s important to better assess (and make known) how social media is evolving,” he says, in order understand how it might be possible to reconfigure it.
“When social media started, it was supposed to bring about this new renaissance of thought because everyone would have a voice. Clearly, something is off,” says Mitchell Marovitz, director of the communications, journalism, and speech program at the University of Maryland Global Campus.
Part of the new institute’s work will be to strengthen these benefits of increased online communication, while minimising its harmful parts.
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