(Re)design to mitigate political polarization: Reflecting Habermas’ ideal communication space in the United States of America and Finland

Matti Nelimarkka, Jean Philippe Rancy, Jennifer Grygiel, Bryan Semaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Social Media platforms are increasingly being used for political activities and communication, and research suggests that social media design and use is contributing to the polarization of the public sphere. This study draws on Habermas’ ideals concerning deliberative democracy to explore if novel interface designs that diversify information sources through content recommendation, can decrease polarization. Through a design-probe interview approach and insights generated from 19 political and citizen experts in Finland and the United States, we found that our deliberative design can lead to depolarization, while creating additional complexity through which users question content and information. We discuss the need to move beyond naive content recommendation, and user interface level changes, in order to work towards a depolarized public sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume3
Issue numberCSCW
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Comparative research
  • Habermas
  • Political polarization
  • Social media
  • Speculative design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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