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Sterile Disagreement

Sterile Disagreement is a major threat to social cohesion and debate. It is frequently related to the so-called “fake news” but in contrast to them, it is easy to measure and is not a matter of opinion. In other words, it is easy to agree that we disagree on certain subjects.

We are studying how to identify unnecessarily inflammatory material, in particular in the news context, and how to defuse its divisive power. We look at the population level structure of trust in news and identify the most divisive items, i.e. those that fragment the population into groups more clearly, and assess the effectiveness of different interventions on polarisation, content diversity and accessibility.