By Sabina Danenberg, Jord van der Vinne & Simon Backers.
Who are we
What we have worked on
We created The Anchor, an online platform which dives into the societal effects of mechanisms like content algorithms, which are especially used by social media platforms and have been proven to negatively affect many users due to misinformation and polarization. During the Covid-19 crisis, this effect has been more clearer than ever with misinformation around the virus circulating widely.
In collaboration with the Hope Project (https://www.thehopeproject.nl/), which conducted some great research into the status of hope in the Netherlands, we aimed to find a way of meaningful contribution. Important findings of the hope project include that hope is a great indicator of a functional society, and that people with high hope are more likely to participate in it.
The problems of social media and the likes came into focus after an initial series of interviews, as well as a recent presence of the topic in the media. These platforms, as stated before, have shown a tendency to divide people through the polarizing nature of their content algorithms, as well as a high susceptibility to misinformation and fake news spreading, therefore causing divides in society.
The Anchor was created to both enable further inquiry into this emerging field, and pass it on to the people in need of it. Who helped us along the way
Throughout our journey we have received help from various experts to ensure that our product would have valuable information. As we wanted to approach the problem as holistic as possible, we interviewed a journalist, psychologist, municipality official, business manager, researcher, and more people from different disciplines. All of this led to the creation of The Anchor.
Struggles we faced
Since the Covid-19 restrictions became progressively more strict during our project, we had to rethink several plans we had. Mainly, we had initially planned to conduct a variety of in-person activities such as social experiments to then post videos about them on the site. Due to the onset of heavy social distancing restrictions in early December, we had to move all of these further into the future, since the restriction would not be lifted before the end of the Value Creator semester and are still in place as of the time this is written.
How we continue
We are now at the end of the first pilot-run of The Anchor. There are multiple articles in a variety of topics which can help you to deal better with misinformation, polarisation, expressing feelings and needs, and many more that can be read on the site.
In the future we have plans to broaden The Anchor’s content by providing interesting podcasts with professionals, social experiments with strangers with opposite world views, and more articles. We will continue to create content and we hope to see some of you enjoying it in the future!