It’s impossible to live in the digital world without engaging with Big Tech. These behemoth information technology companies—Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.—influence all facets of life, impacting us in ways we are only just starting to understand. While these platforms are making good on the promise of keeping us connected, the effects have been catastrophic. Turns out, holding our attention is part of the business model. Unfortunately, that model is based on algorithms that: 1. Are accused of being biased and disproportionately affect people of color 2. Allow for the rapid spread of misinformation and disinformation and 3. Undercut real, actual journalism. And all of this is wreaking havoc on democracies around the world, including ours.

These problems are chilling. But can we fix them?

This week, we hosted a conversation about the impact campaigns of two very important films—”The Social Dilemma” and “Coded Bias“—that address these issues and more. We also engaged in a discussion about the threats Big Tech pose to democracy, including whether these tools and platforms are consistent with a representative democracy, whether—and how—Silicon Valley can be pressured to take these issues seriously, and what philanthropy can do to combat the problems.

Watch this fascinating discussion featuring:

  • Jeff Orlowski, Filmmaker, The Social Dilemma; Founder & Director, Exposure Labs
  • Shalini Kantayya, Filmmaker, Coded Bias
  • Rashad Robinson, President, Color of Change
  • Ethan Zuckerman, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Communications and Information at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Alaphia Zoyab, (moderator) Advocacy Director, Reset
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Media Impact Funders

Media Impact Funders

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Media Impact Funders traces its roots back to the Council on Foundations, a longtime philanthropy-serving organization. Formerly Grantmakers in Film, Video & Television, MIF began on a volunteer basis in 1984 as an affinity group for funders interested in the power of film to highlight social issues. Reflecting changes in technology and media behavior over the past decade, it was renamed Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM) and formally incorporated in 2008 to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. It had 45 members and was headed by former MacArthur Foundation Program Officer Alyce Myatt. GFEM was renamed Media Impact Funders in 2012 and has since expanded its strategy to include a broad range media funding interests such as journalism, immersive technologies, media policy and more. Since that time, MIF has grown to more than 80 organizational members representing some of the largest foundations, and holds more than 40 in-person and online events yearly.