Are you worried about the power of social media platforms? They’ve increasingly centralized and have radically altered the idea of the “web” for hundreds of millions around the globe. Black-box algorithms govern what users see on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with no mechanisms or accountability for their real world impacts. This has led to waves of backlash against these platforms, with the media and policymakers pursuing them with pitchforks.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can present alternatives that take a fresher look at the technology decisions and possible underlying business models. What happens if we give users control over what they see? Will people want to read news from diverse sources? Will people choose to tune out rude content and trolls? We built Gobo to answer these questions, and we need your help to make it more robust, give users new content filters, and investigate how they are using it.
You will plan, design, build, maintain, and run our social media aggregation and filtering platform. You will coordinate with other research staff to fix bugs, prioritize features, architect for scalability, and improve the web-based desktop and mobile user interfaces. Sometimes we’ll want you to wear a data-scientist hat to helping answer research hypotheses; you’ll get to dive into the usage data collected by our instrumentation within the web-app.
Gobo is a project of the Center for Civic Media at MIT. The position is a year-long position based at our offices in the MIT Media Lab. It is an open source academic research project, approved by MIT’s institutional research review board. We hope to obtain further funding to keep this position available beyond one year.
We are a diverse project of researchers and technologists who love to wrestle with hard questions about online media by using a combination of social, computer, and data sciences. You should be the type of person that thrives in an academic atmosphere that privileges constant questioning and validation at all levels of the platform and of our research products.
- at least two years experience working as a software engineer on data-related projects;
- history of crafting, building, testing, and deploying robust code;
- demonstrated ability to iterate quickly through prototypes;
- demonstrated ability to use data to validate architectural decisions;
- experience working on diverse teams, with strong interpersonal skills to interact with different disciplines;
- interest in working on issues related to AI, machine learning, algorithmic bias, online news and partisanship, and social media.
- real passion for solving difficult engineering and data problems;
- experience writing, maintaining, and optimizing SQL queries against large databases;
- experience implementing API-based OAuth integrations with social media sites;
- demonstrated ability to scale platforms to handle more users;
- experience with the Python Flask web micro-architecture;
- work with other to clarify technical vision for project;
- contribute to, and follow, a technical roadmap to meet research needs and complete responsibilities;
- collaborate with other developers, designers, and system administrators in implementing technical roadmap;
- communicate project status internally and externally;
- maintain, upgrade, and build systems within existing codebase (https://github.com/mitmedialab/gobo);
- writing code to scale systems to handle rapidly growing data requirements.
The job is based in Cambridge, MA.
We strongly encourage women, people of color, and people of any sexual identity to apply. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.