The project aims to develop a Social Media User's Virtual Companion, the COURAGE Companion, that educates and supports school students over the age of 13, facing the complexity of social media, such as discrimination and biases also escalating to hate speech, bullying, fake news and other toxic content that can strongly affect the real world. The Companion will raise awareness of potential threats in social media while still providing a satisfactory experience through the use of novel gamification strategies and educative information selection algorithms.
The project has three strategic aims:
1) develop social media user interfaces that will (i) contextualise content, (ii) empower users with educative, adjustable and transparent information recommendation algorithms, (iii) educate and support the users of social media in adopting pedagogic value and transparency as ethical self governance principles. These interfaces will help the users to understand the threats of social media, such as filter bubbles, and avoid them while still having a satisfying interaction;
2) develop, advance and integrate methods and tools to automatically recognise and counteracting threats to the health of a connected society such as campaigns with deceptive or misleading content and unhealthy spontaneous social media dynamics like bullying and filter bubbles;
3) understand and model what is a healthy and connected society as well as how social media dynamics interacts with the real world to provide support for future risks and detect novel threats.