Joan Donovan (PhD, University of California San Diego) is the Media Manipulation Research Lead at Data and Society Research Institute, where she researches how the internet became a political tool. She received her PhD in Sociology and Science Studies at University of California San Diego, where she studied activist communication networks. After UCSD, she went to UCLA for a Post-Doc at the Institute for Society and Genetics, where she studied white nationalists use of science and DNA ancestry tests in the search for racial purity.
Alice E. Marwick
Alice E. Marwick (PhD, New York University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she researches the social, political, and cultural implications of popular social media technologies. She is currently interested in the role of gender in far-right radicalization and its links to online harassment and digital inequality. Her current book project examines how the networked nature of online privacy disproportionately impacts marginalized individuals in terms of gender, race, and socio-economic status. She is the author of the flagship report Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online (with Becca Lewis, 2017); Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Self-Branding in the Social Media Age (Yale 2013); and co-editor of The Sage Handbook of Social Media (2017).
Becca Lewis researches the way online extremist groups manipulate media narratives and radicalize new members, thus having an outsized effect on politics. She writes a weekly briefing on current far-right extremist activities, and she is beginning to investigate the role of independent media influencers and micro-celebrities in the movement.
Caroline Jack (PhD, Cornell University) is a media historian and theorist whose research focuses on mediated persuasion and propaganda. In her role as Postdoctoral Scholar at Data & Society, she investigates how formal and informal groups create, narrate, and deploy mass and interactive media communications campaigns to rationalize and sustain their desired economic and social configurations. She uses archival and textual-analytical methods, drawing theoretical orientation from the historiography of media and technology. Her projects include mass media campaign production histories and present-focused case studies of the institutions and infrastructures that scaffold persuasive campaigns.
Francesca Tripodi is a sociologist interested in the interaction between participatory media and community identity. Using ethnographic methods, she developed an analytical framework for understanding the ways in which communities use participatory media to perpetuate systems of inequality. Francesca’s goal is to utilize this framework for understanding how this applies to other platforms and community environments.
Mark Ackerman studies how online work – both interaction work and labor work – gets done to cause political effects and causes disruptions to the platforms’ AIs.
Matt Goerzen studies anonymous online communities, with particular reference to the ways they facilitate group identification and seek to influence both normative and regulatory systems through trolling, memetics, and mainstream media antagonism. He hopes to enhance understandings of: how far right political groups relate to these anonymous communities; the mechanisms they use to radicalize and mobilize their participants; the role of technical anonymity in subject formation at both individual and collective levels; and the attraction of memetic episteme. Ultimately, he is interested in how these tools and strategies can be used for productive social engagement, and what rubrics may be useful to measure that productivity.
Robyn Caplan is a media and information policy scholar studying how media policy is interacting with data governance. She uses theories from science and technology studies and neo-institutional theory to examine how values and goals are transported through technologies like algorithms and data schemas into the logic of organizations (and vice versa). Most recently, she applies this work to media policy and the analysis of news media content classification guidelines being proposed by search engines and social media, as well as media industry groups, and civil society organizations, in the fight against disinformation and ‘fake news.’
Whitney Phillips is a digital media folklorist who has spent a decade exploring trolling, hate and misogyny online, online ethics, and folkloric ambivalence across media. She is the author of two books: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, an ethnography of early trolling subculture, and The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online, which applies a folkloric lens to online participation. She is currently working on an ethnographic research project focused on emerging journalism practices, and in future work will continue investigating the ambivalent relationship between individuals and the folkloric collectives they navigate.
Jeanna Neefe Matthews
Jeanna Neefe Matthews is a computer science professor at Clarkson University and a Fellow at Data and Society for 2017-18. She has done a wide variety of work in computer systems including virtualization and cloud security. She is also the co-chair of the US-ACM subcommittee on algorithmic transparency and accountability.
Rishab Nithyanand is a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow at Data & Society. His interests lie in quantitatively analyzing how political opinion manipulation occurs and how political discourse has evolved on online social platforms.
Pete Krafft studies the structure and dissemination of information, misinformation, and disinformation. His research combines modeling, laboratory experimentation, and observational data analysis. A project he is involved with at Data & Society in this vein investigates rumors that were propagating during and immediately after the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally.
Lauren Hanson is a research analyst with experience using social science techniques to study the ways that media and social media ecosystems support social change. Currently, she is studying the ways the algorithms and data affect media platforms and accountability to social values. She aspires to more thoroughly understand governance issues around algorithms and how information helps individuals make decisions.
Monica Bulger (PhD, University of California Santa Barbara) studies student data privacy, equity, and media literacy as a research affiliate of Data & Society. She contributes policy research to UNICEF, the European Commission, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Her recent report The Promises, Challenges, and Futures of Media Literacy (with Patrick Davison, 2018) examines potentials for an educational response to disinformation campaigns.
Patrick Davison is a doctoral candidate at NYU. His dissertation research is about the long history of American social media. Before becoming an academic, he spent his time doing independent research about internet memes.
Leon Yin is a data scientist and research engineer at NYU's Social Media and Political Participation Lab and the Center for Data Science. He builds data pipelines, and tunes machine learning algorithms to study media manipulation. He is currently working on an interdisciplinary project that uses neural networks to analyze far-right memes.