NEWSREC: The promise and perils of algorithmic news recommenders’ influence on democracy


27. September.

Time: 13:00 - 13:30



In 2018, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressed that "I think Twitter does contribute to filter bubbles, and I think that’s wrong of us, we need to fix it". 

This quote illustrates a growing concern over the possible adverse effects of AI and news recommender systems on democracy. Such concerns have spawned a raft of literature and debate on the extent to which online news environments are characterized by “filter bubbles” where people only encounter information that conform to their own political beliefs.

But a mounting body of empirical evidence is now showing that such worries about filter bubbles are overstated and that algorithms have not separated a great share of the audience into bubbles where they are separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints. 

However, because of the “black box” nature and poor transparency of algorithmic technology, the question of why is still an unresolved puzzle. Put differently, we lack knowledge on how to make informed choices about designing news recommender algorithms such that they do not, as a biproduct, end up leading to filter bubbles in the future.

In this talk, Erik Knudsen will present the research agenda and early results from the NEWSREC project – a project that will study the promise and perils of news recommender systems by understanding how news recommender algorithms can be designed to either create or counter the formation of online filter bubbles.    

Dr. Erik Knudsen is a researcher at MediaFutures at MCB and the leader of the NEWSREC project. The full title of the project is “NEWSREC – The Double-edged Sword of News Recommenders’ Impact on Democracy”. The project was awarded by the highly competitive program Research projects for young talents by the Research Council of Norway.


This event is a part of the Media City Bergen Future Week, 27 September - 1 October. 50+ events will be taking place inside the Media City Bergen building, Oslo and Stavanger - all focused on topics that challenge our common future as it is driven and shaped by technology.
Read more about Future Week here
If you are interested in more events like this, you can sign up for our newsletter here.


UIB, MCB Main Entrance, 2nd floor
Lars Hilles gate 30
5008 Bergen


The University of Bergen and Media City Bergen