Data underpins an increasing number of everyday experiences and decisions. The data-based social world throws up new problems for social scientists, as well as providing new contexts for our continuing interests in citizenship, participation, equality and justice. In collaboration with LSE Data and Society, which launches this year to address these and other key social issues related to the ‘turn towards data’, the LSE Impact Blog is keen to recognise the range of interdisciplinary perspectives on the social and political issues emerging in relation to data and society.

This section will aim to capture the range of activities taking place at the LSE and more widely across disciplines and sectors on the broad topic of the relationship between data and society. The MSc in Media and Communication (Data & Society) at the LSE uses a critical social science curriculum to develop ways of thinking that shape the future governance of data systems and investigate how data shape media production. Alongside these activities, there will also be a programme of research events that delve into the most significant social issues connecting data, communications and society. In particular we are examining how best to address algorithmic accountability in law, technology and research, and the significance of data in relation to citizenship and inequality. For more on these events and the theme of Algorithmic Accountability, check out the LSE Media Policy Project.

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    Our Profile(d) Selves: How social media platforms use data to tell us who we should be

Our Profile(d) Selves: How social media platforms use data to tell us who we should be

Social media platforms have become an everyday feature of modern life. One feature common to these platforms is the creation of a user profile. These profiles are vital for social media companies to make money from data analytics and targeted advertising. In this post, Lukasz Szulc explores how social media platforms translate this data-driven business model into the design […]

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    What does Facebook’s #tenyearchallenge tell us about public awareness of data and algorithms?

What does Facebook’s #tenyearchallenge tell us about public awareness of data and algorithms?

Helen Kennedy reflects on the recent #tenyearchallenge trend. Looking at responses to the challenge, she considers what they tell us about the public understanding of data and the companies that utilise it. Drawing on qualitative and survey data on the levels of public awareness, she finds that what the public knows about data continues to be unclear.

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    Algorithms, Accountability, and Political Emotion: on the cultural assumptions underpinning sentiment analysis.

Algorithms, Accountability, and Political Emotion: on the cultural assumptions underpinning sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis is an increasingly popular metric for news and social media platforms. Alison Powell reflects here on the implications of sentiment analysis and its potential connection with the rise and intensification of emotion-driven politics. The data inputted to ‘train’ algorithms on sentiment analysis has enormous impact and is imbued with assumptions about the world. What mechanisms might make these algorithms […]

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    Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu

Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu

The controversy surrounding Academia.edu highlights the flaws and limitations of existing scholarly infrastructures. Jean-Christophe Plantin explores the intersection of algorithms, academic research and platforms for scholarly publications. He argues that there is a need to develop a values-centred approach in the development of article-sharing platforms, with suitably designed algorithms.

The networking and article-sharing platform academia.edu has been at the centre of a controversy in […]

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    Five Minutes with Alison Powell on what data means, how it is produced and what influence it has for decision-makers.

Five Minutes with Alison Powell on what data means, how it is produced and what influence it has for decision-makers.

Data, information and knowledge are powerful aspects of contemporary society. Managing Editor Sierra Williams recently caught up with Alison Powell on the development and expansion of Data and Society activities taking place at the LSE. Alongside a new MSc programme, a broad range of research is set to be explored, such as the ethics of data and surveillance systems, the roles […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.