Feb 24, 2023

The Trust Engineers

First aired in 2015, this is an episode about social media, and how, when we talk online, things can quickly go south. But do they have to? In the earlier days of Facebook, we met with a group of social engineers who were convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. 

We just have to  agree to be their lab rats.

Because Facebook, or something like it, is where we share and like and gossip and gripe. And before we were as aware of its impact, Facebook had a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’d never seen. We got to peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who were tweaking our online experience, to try to make the world a better place.

And even now, just under a decade later, we’re still left wondering if that’s possible, or even a good idea.


Reported by - Andrew Zolli
Original music and sound design contributed by - Mooninites


Andrew Zolli’s blog post about Darwin’s Stickers (https://zpr.io/ZpMeUnRmVMgP) which highlights another one of these Facebook experiments that didn’t make it into the episode.

Andrew Zolli’s Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back (https://zpr.io/7fYQ9iDYAQBu)
Kate Crawford's Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (https://zpr.io/9rU5CGSit3W4)


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