Platform to Measure and Track Inclusion pioneered by PBS Professor Rene Weber featured in The Current

July 13, 2023

PBS and Dept of Communication Prof. René Weber’s ongoing research on diversity and inclusion on social media has been recently featured by The Current. Dr Weber’s team recently investigated diversity, equity and inclusion in content produced by the media giant Snapchat. To do this tracking, they used the Measuring and Tracking Inclusion Platform (MTI), developed by Dr. Weber’s team at the UCSB Media Neuroscience Lab. The MTI platform combines human coding and computer-assisted techniques to enhance the reliability, efficiency, and accessibility of inclusion research. In their work, Dr. Weber’s team trained human coders to annotate gender, race, ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ identity in 300 shows featuring original content with 63 hosts and 726 speaking characters. They also integrated a bespoke computer vision system into the platform to analyze over 16,000 unique Snap stories randomly selected from content provided to the researchers by the company. Weber and team designed their protocol based on the expertise developed by their co-investigators at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “It’s state of the art technology” said Malik, a graduate student in Dr. Weber’s lab “As far as we know, nobody else has implemented a system like ours anywhere.” MTI’s fully automated function can efficiently code massive content data sets, and includes a way to automatically track annotators’ reliability.

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