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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

Facebook, Google, and the myth of neutrality in political advertising

Bridget Barrett’s new research reveals for the first time that Facebook and Google are the central players in digital political advertising – and they’re hardly neutral content platforms. Her research uses Federal Election Commission data to show just how central … Continued

Explaining anti-CRT campaigns in Scientific American

In a new opinion piece in Scientific American, CITAP faculty Daniel Kreiss, Alice Marwick, and Francesca Tripodi describe how political campaigns against critical race theory (CRT) continue a long tradition of linking racial justice movements to communism as a form … Continued

Communication Theory & Racial Reckoning

In a new book review in Communication Theory, Daniel Kreiss highlights the significant contribution of three recent books to communication theory and research: Distributed Blackness: African American cybercultures, by André Brock Jr. #HashtagActivism: Networks of race and gender justice, by … Continued

A portrait of Dr. Francesca Tripodi

Learning to distinguish truth from fiction online

Francesca Tripodi, an assistant professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science and a senior researcher at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, joins experts in education, media literacy and instructional design to tackle “one of … 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 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