NWO research programme VWdata approved

6 February 2018

The research programme VWdata has been fully funded. Investigators from IViR, AScoR and Delft University of Technology can now start work on the sub-project 'Fair News: reporting news in the age of Big Data'.

Nearly all major media companies are currently experimenting with ways to provide their readership with better recommendations by making use of Big Data. But how far can and should they go in using algorithms to filter information? How much of a bias is acceptable? And when does it begin to conflict with fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and non-discrimination?

Joint Effort

The Fair News project hopes to provide some answers to these questions. Researchers from IViR (Joris van Hoboken), AScoR (Claes de Vreese), and the TU Delft (Claudia Hauff) will be participating. The project is part of the UvA Research Priority Area Personalised Communication (Principal Investigators: Claes de Vreese, ASCoR, and Natali Helberger, IViR).

The project aims to empirically map the potential consequences of algorithmic filtering, to develop normative guidelines for filtering information, and to develop tools that can be used in practice.

Volkskrant and TU

De Volkskrant is also involved: the newspaper will grant the researchers access to existing data that provides insight into which information people do or do not get to see on the basis of their profiles and the manner of recommendation logic followed. In collaboration with the TU Delft, a persona-driven recommender is being created, which provides insight into bias of access to news by offering recommendations for various personas.


FairNews will make an active contribution to the 'Responsibly creating value with Big Data' (Verantwoorde Waardecreatie met Big Data or VWData) programme of the National Science Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda). The VWData programme proposes important pre-conditions for the exploitation of social, economic and scientific opportunities by Big Data-technology. Natali Helberger is a member of the VWData steering committee.

Published by  Amsterdam Law School