Attention & Democracy Initiative

The Attention & Democracy Initiative (ADI) is focused on the link between our increasingly attention-driven economy and the state of American democracy. In particular, ADI is collaborating with leaders from the relevant stakeholder groups with the aim of developing strategies that:

  • improve the political information ecosystem;
  • have broad cross-partisan support; and
  • can feasibly be operationalized.

It is currently advancing an operational model – REP Certification & Amplification – for incentivizing the production of “responsible” electoral content and amplification of that content across participating intermediaries (including social media platforms, news aggregators and potentially streaming services.) It is narrowly focused on candidate engagement content (debates, forums, voter guides, etc) that meet certain quality standards, making it feasible to implement at the scale platforms operate. It also has rare cross-partisan support, in part because it is focused on amplifying the reach of content as opposed to limiting what can be said and proposes doing so with oversight by a non-governmental multi-stakeholder council. While we do not claim this would be a silver bullet for addressing all of the challenges associated with our political information ecosystem, we contend it would help increase the overall political “signal to noise” ratio on the internet and hopefully cultivate trust amongst the key stakeholders for more ambitious collaborative efforts down the road.