The European commission has launched a call for tenders for a study on the mechanisms that shape social media and their impact on society.

This study will take stock and attempt to advance our understanding of the mechanisms and incentives that shape social media as a basis for future action. Social media have changed the way we access, produce and share information. They help weave local and global social networks of people, media, businesses and institutions that change the public debates and the democratic process itself.

Despite the growing influence of social media on our society, the mechanisms and incentives shaping them are not fully understood, leading to misinterpretations of their role - both negative and positive - in opinion formation and societal decisions. Different phenomena – fake-news, hate speech, trolls, social bots, confirmation bias, and echo-chambers – are intermingled and mixed up. Their real impact on the policy process or in economic terms is not fully understood.

No systematic empirical and theoretical analysis is put forward to positon and to understand these phenomena better. We need scientific insight about the functioning of fast evolving social networks weaved by social media.

Understanding the mechanisms and incentives that shape social media is the key for future action. 

The deadline for receipt of tender is the 20th of September 2017.