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The Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researches the intersection of politics and digital technology, studying technologies in the context of the people who design, use, and govern them. In the rapidly growing field of research on the role of technology in our society, CITAP’s work is distinctive, uniting multiple fields of study and methodological approaches with a shared Southern, public-institutional view with strong shared research values.

 

Latest News

Event: The Capitol Coup One Year Later

January 6 & 7, 2022 The University of North Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) and George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) invite you to join them for The Capital Coup One Year … Continued

New Publication: Media Frames in The White House Newsletter

In a new article for Information, Communication, and Society, Francesca Tripodi and Yuanye Ma reveal the important role electoral communication plays in framing current events and the extent to which email is an essential node in the right-wing media ecosystem. By … Continued

Call for Papers: What Comes After Disinformation Studies?

ICA Pre-Conference: What Comes After Disinformation Studies? Paris, May 25, 2022 The médialab at Science Po Submissions due: Friday, February 18, 2022 at 12pm ET Introduction The title of this pre-conference, “What Comes After Disinformation Studies?”, is something of a … Continued

Navigating Conflict in Democratic Social Movements

Conflict and harm are inevitable within democratic social movements. In a pair of columns for Interactions by the Association for Computing Machinery, Rachel Kuo and her coauthors explore the role endings and dissolutions play in research and social organizing. In … Continued


Our Approach

We recognize that effective analysis of technology platforms and information systems requires

  • A holistic approach grounded in history, society, culture, and politics
  • Analyzing how social differences—including race and ethnicity, gender, class, and sexual identity—shape unequal information ecosystem dynamics
  • Prioritizing questions of power, institutions, and economic, social, cultural, and technological structures
  • Making clear foundational commitments to equality and justice

Our Research

Common topics in our work include:

  • Political processes: Technological tools increasingly interact with our political systems and changes how society thinks about politics. Our work addresses political mechanisms like elections, digital advertising, and communication to better understand these shifts and what they mean for the political landscape.
  • Democracy and equality: The rise of digital communication simultaneously poses threats and offers promise to democracies worldwide. We explore the ways in which democratic practices and equality evolve alongside rapid societal and technological change.
  • Mis- and disinformation: False and low-quality information sources generate revenue and power for their creators while undermining public trust. CITAP research seeks to understand how mis- and disinformation campaigns are created and spread and how they can be counteracted.
  • Platforms, networks, and infrastructure: There is a growing awareness of the relationship between communication technologies and the power dynamics that shape society. CITAP works to unearth and explore these dynamics through studies of various communication platforms.

Experts

Photos of Zeynep Tufekci, Alice Marwick, Daniel Kreiss, and Deen Freelon
Photos of Francesca Tripodi, Tressie McMillan Cottom, and Shannon McGregor

CITAP brings together principal researchers Deen Freelon, Daniel Kreiss, Alice Marwick, and Zeynep Tufekci, and senior faculty researchers Shannon McGregor, Tressie McMillan Cottom, and Francesca Tripodi.


Connect with CITAP

Subscribe to our email newsletter or follow us on social media for news and announcements about the center, its investigators, and research related to our mission.

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CITAP Digital Politics

Platforms and digital media have fundamentally changed electoral politics. Launched in January 2020, citapdigitalpolitics.com offers a set of resources for analyzing how platforms, law, and ethics shape the ways campaigns communicate with voters.


Videos of CITAP Affiliates Discussing Their Research

 


“CITAP capitalizes on the fact that Carolina is home to some of the nation’s leading communication, information, journalism and legal scholars, as well as highly regarded centers focused on media law and innovation and sustainability in local media. We envision the center as a crucible for ideas and a living laboratory for understanding the core information needs of American democracy and other socio-political systems.”

– Gary Marchionini, Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor
UNC School of Information and Library Science


CITAP is made possible through the institutional support of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and gifts from:

Knight Foundation Hewlett Foundation Luminate