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Winter Programma

Digital Methods

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Bias in content recommendation and moderation

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) Amsterdam, is holding its annual Winter School on ‘Bias in content recommendation and moderation'. The format is that of a (social media and web) data sprint, with tutorials as well as hands-on work for telling stories with data. There is also a programme of keynote speakers. It is intended for advanced Master's students, PhD candidates and motivated scholars who would like to work on (and complete) a digital methods project in an intensive workshop setting. For a preview of what the event is like, you can view short video clips from previous editions of the School.

When one argues that algorithms are biased, how is the case made? Similarly, when it is claimed that content moderation (that results in removal or demonetisation) is unfair, what is considered to be a convincing account? This year’s Digital Methods Winter School is dedicated to the empirical study of the biases of algorithms and moderated content. We would like to take stock of the claims made about biases (in search engines as well as social media platforms) and pay special attention to the measurement and representation of these biases. First, we would like to present the celebrated cases (such as discriminatory pricing, stereotyping and computer vision training), but also a discussion of the supposed political motivations surrounding takedowns by Google, Facebook, Twitter and others. Subsequently, we would like to critique and learn from how bias is represented and also put forward methods that capture and seek to lay bare bias, such as algorithmic auditing and other testing regimes. Finally, we would like to visualise these biases in ways that make more legible and apparent.

At the Winter School there are the usual social media tool tutorials (and the occasional tool requiem), but also invitations for thinking through and proposing how to work with social media data after the demise of the API.

Digital Methods Program
Classes are interactive and web-intensive (Photo: Anne Helmond)

Course information:

  • Dates: 4 - 8 January 2021
  • Tuition fee: 695 Euro
  • Application deadline: 16 November 2020
  • Academic director: Richard Rogers
  • Academic level: all graduate levels - Master's, PhD candidates and professionals/scholars
  • Credits: 6 ECTS 
  • Field of study: New Media and Digital Culture
  • Location: Faculty of Humanities, Media Studies, Turfdraagsterpad 9, Amsterdam

More information

For all details about this Winter Course, please visit the Digital Methods website below. 

Prof. dr. R.A. (Richard) Rogers

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Media & Cultuur

Facts & Figures
Mode Full-time
Credits 6 ECTS, 1 weeks
Language of instruction English
Starts in January