How can technology help us understand each other?
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In the aftermath of the 2016 election, there was a surge of conversation about technology's role in political and ideological polarization. In light of the president's claims about the "mainstream press" and "fake news," some friends and I decided to investigate these sources ourselves. The result was fascinating, but unfortunately unsurprising. As expected, we found that sources considered to be in the "mainstream media" and sources considered to be "conservative" or "alt-right" cover the exact same events in drastically different ways.
Two separate realities
These two separate groups of news sources create separate groups of readers with separate understandings of reality. This polarization means that those who want to take political action often lack the vocabulary and understanding necessary to reach those on the opposite end.
We decided that one of the ways to target this issue was by juxtaposing together news articles from sources ranging from "mainstream" to "conservative." This way, readers can directly compare the disparate styles of coverage and see with their own eyes how the "opposite side" perceives reality.
The Google Chrome extension
The Two-Sided Chrome extension allows readers of an article to quickly find an article from the "other side" about the same topic. Here are some examples of it in action: