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Knight Foundation Funding Studies on Media, Democracy

FILE - Students discuss First Amendment rights at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., April 2. 2016, during a conference sponsored by the Newseum Institute and Knight Foundation. (Photo credit - Mark Schierbecker via Flickr)

A foundation that specializes in journalism is pledging nearly $50 million for research in how social media and technology impacts democracy.

The grants announced Monday by the Miami-based Knight Foundation partly respond to the manipulation of tech giants like Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 election. Eleven universities and research institutions are recipients.

Besides trying to get a bead on social media's impact on election campaigns, the grants include projects on the spread of disinformation and how newsrooms can address polarization in society. The foundation says it is time for society to understand the issues through data and not emotion.

Grants will go to New York University, Carnegie Mellon, George Washington, North Carolina, the University of Washington, Indiana, Stanford, Texas, Wisconsin, Yale and the Data & Society Research Institute.