We’re imagining, studying, and building public spaces and public goods on the internet.

89. Facebook scores your politics with a number. Brendan Nyhan figured out what they do with it. (Part 1 of 2) Reimagining the Internet

Does Facebook make people’s politics more extreme? Do algorithms force us into bubbles? Does social media threaten American democracy? Political scientist Brendan Nyhan used his permission to research political data on Facebook as an opportunity to tackle these questions head on. In part one of our interview with Brendan, he tells us about his contribution… Continue reading 89. Facebook scores your politics with a number. Brendan Nyhan figured out what they do with it. (Part 1 of 2)

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What is Digital Public Infrastructure?

The Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure studies, imagines and builds a new, more resilient Internet for the public good; an Internet guided by the values of users and their communities rather than those of corporations and investors.

What is Digital Public Infrastructure?
The Internet today consists of what could be described as accidental public infrastructure, including social media platforms like Facebook, advertising marketplaces like Google AdSense, or music distribution networks like Spotify. These infrastructures are only public insofar as they are open to the public and therefore host an increasing proportion of our civic life.They often exploit the private data of their users while restricting those users from contributing meaningfully to platform governance. 

At iDPI, we are building an internet full of spaces that are intentionally public, with economics and governance driven by their users. We aim to accomplish this by learning from successful examples of user-driven and user-governed online spaces as well as experimentations in building community-driven spaces at a small scale.

Can such spaces foster the accountability, safety, and stability needed to shape a healthy online public sphere? Can they connect users across divides of identity and ideology? Can they not only host communities that gather both online and offline, but help sustain those communities?

The ideas that animate iDPI have been outlined in a set of academic papers and articles in the popular press:

The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure
Building a More Honest Internet
What is Digital Public Infrastructure?