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ניתוח השפעתם של מודלים עסקיים של מדיה חברתית על התפשטות תוכן מקטב והקצנה (באנגלית)

The significant role played by social media platforms in amplifying the reach of disinformation and radicalizing content is by now a well-known fact (Belfer Center and Shorenstein Center, 2023). It is also clear that alongside ideological motivations, the creation and spreading of such information is a lucrative business (Bruce et al., 2023). However, how the business models of social media platforms, and specifically their monetization schemes, impact the dissemination of radicalizing content is less understood. This lacuna poses a challenge to the development of effective governance mechanisms aimed at mitigating societal polarization and radicalization (Ruiz, 2023). To address this gap and develop possible remedies for this problem, we plan to unpack the nexus of platform monetization policies, content creators' monetization strategies and the strategies of users when it comes to the creation and dissemination of the radicalizing content. Our theoretical foundation rests on the principle-agent framework, which “models the interactions between an agent, who can influence the probability of an outcome by incurring costly effort, and a principal, who has preferences over the outcome” (Khan & Wright, 2021). In the present case, two specific types of interactions are pertinent. First, the platform might be viewed as an agent possessing the capability but lacking the motivation to implement costly preventive measures against the dissemination of the radicalizing content (DeCook et al., 2022; Santini et al., 2023); a regulator assumes the role of the principal, striving to strike a balance between the monetary (e.g., costs) and non-monetary (e.g., impact on democracy) effects associated with these precautions and the damage inflicted by such content (Khan & Wright, 2021). The problem is expressed in Frances Haugen, a former Facebook manager, testimony before the US Senate Commerce Committee: “Facebook repeatedly chose to maximize online engagement instead of minimizing harm to users.” Secondly, platforms themselves also act as principals, regulating the actions of the content creators (agents) operating on their platforms. Different business strategies can be thought of as offering various trade-offs between financial gains and the harm caused by the spread of radicalizing content.

Analyzing the Influence of Social Media Business Models on the Proliferation of Polarizing and Radicalizing Content

The significant role played by social media platforms in amplifying the reach of disinformation and radicalizing content is by now a well-known fact (Belfer Center and Shorenstein Center, 2023). It is also clear that alongside ideological motivations, the creation and spreading of such information is a lucrative business (Bruce et al., 2023). However, how the business models of social media platforms, and specifically their monetization schemes, impact the dissemination of radicalizing content is less understood. This lacuna poses a challenge to the development of effective governance mechanisms aimed at mitigating societal polarization and radicalization (Ruiz, 2023). To address this gap and develop possible remedies for this problem, we plan to unpack the nexus of platform monetization policies, content creators' monetization strategies and the strategies of users when it comes to the creation and dissemination of the radicalizing content. Our theoretical foundation rests on the principle-agent framework, which “models the interactions between an agent, who can influence the probability of an outcome by incurring costly effort, and a principal, who has preferences over the outcome” (Khan & Wright, 2021). In the present case, two specific types of interactions are pertinent. First, the platform might be viewed as an agent possessing the capability but lacking the motivation to implement costly preventive measures against the dissemination of the radicalizing content (DeCook et al., 2022; Santini et al., 2023); a regulator assumes the role of the principal, striving to strike a balance between the monetary (e.g., costs) and non-monetary (e.g., impact on democracy) effects associated with these precautions and the damage inflicted by such content (Khan & Wright, 2021). The problem is expressed in Frances Haugen, a former Facebook manager, testimony before the US Senate Commerce Committee: “Facebook repeatedly chose to maximize online engagement instead of minimizing harm to users.” Secondly, platforms themselves also act as principals, regulating the actions of the content creators (agents) operating on their platforms. Different business strategies can be thought of as offering various trade-offs between financial gains and the harm caused by the spread of radicalizing content.

על אודות החוקרים

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