As a recipient of a Public Interest Technology University Network Challenge grant, we are executing our first pilot project — 360 Tech & Social Media: Innovation, Security, & Governance, to address the risks social media pose to our democratic society, communities, and individuals.  Our goal is to develop new models for social media and its governance in a multi-phase project that is already underway.  We continue to expand the project to deepen our understanding of the impact of social media on digital communities and the challenges facing private industry, to develop new governance models, and to implement the recommendations we are developing. Social media and its attendant technologies have transformed global society so rapidly and ubiquitously that our systems of governance and collective ability to mitigate risk have struggled to keep pace. In the United States, institutions designed in the mid-20th Century have become relics, incapable of responding effectively to the complex challenges the country faces.

No one entity or sector can solve it alone. It requires a range of stakeholders from diverse sectors to examine and develop practical governance models – e.g., new legislation, new regulatory frameworks, new third-party oversight models, standard-setting, and technological changes such as decentralized networks – that mitigate these risks while balancing competing interests.

Our project brings together the right people and organizations to generate practical and innovative solutions that will provide the necessary guardrails for social media and its use, and to develop a strategy for their implementation and adoption.