Online harms and manipulation

  • 2020

The internet has transformed how we live, work and relate to one another. We can make friends around the world without ever saying ‘hello’, compare products from dozens of shops without leaving the house, or plan a date with a stranger without breaking a sweat.

Yet the characteristics of online environments – their deliberate design and the ability to generate enormous quantities of data about how we behave, who we interact with and the choices we make, coupled with the potential for mass experimentation – can also leave consumers open to harm and manipulation.

We have researched in detail how governments, regulators and at least some businesses might seek to harness our deepening understanding of human behaviour to address these failures. In this way, we can shape and guide the evolution of digital markets and online environments that really do work for individuals and communities.