Research

Research Projects

The Political and Civic Applications Division (PCAD): PCAD develops software to support research into information environments. Its first application, PIEGraph, collects full Twitter feed data from a representative panel of participants, enabling a holistic study of the role of low-quality information in context. Their latest release, PykTok, is a TikTok scraper to capture videos and metadata for research.

Critical Disinformation Studies: The concept of disinformation does not account for vast social, cultural, and political differences in how people distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate forms of persuasion—or the long histories behind strategically false information. The Critical Disinfo Studies project rethinks the assumptions behind disinformation research and expands on what “counts” as disinformation.

CITAP Digital Politics: Tech platforms and digital media have fundamentally changed electoral politics. CITAP Digital Politics publishes resources tracking and analyzing how platform policies, state laws, and ethics shape how campaigns communicate with voters. Recent reports include tracking platform policies on U.S. political speech and state laws governing election misinformation.

Election Coverage and Democracy network (ECAD): ECAD is a collection of scholarly experts in politics & media which offered practical, nonpartisan, evidence-based recommendations to journalists covering the 2020 election.

Disinformation in Context (DisC): DisC investigates how people come to believe fringe, extremist, and conspiratorial views they encounter online. DisC researchers spend time in fringe internet communities to understand the complexities of “radicalization" and focus on how power and identity shape these communities' beliefs.

The Search Prompt Integrity and Learning Lab (SPILL): The SPILL team seeks to identify search keywords curated for nefarious purposes and understand how these keywords draw on their target communities’ identities and deep stories. Their work includes efforts to predict keyword curation before data voids are filled and to understand how search keywords are used across different languages and cultural contexts.

Future Journalism: Widespread social media usage has changed the business model and practice of journalism, while threats to democratic governance require new frames for covering politics and providing accountability. The Future Journalism project produces insights and recommendations for navigating these changes.

Child Online Safety Legislation: This group of researchers investigates legislation focused on child safety on social platforms, including the UK Online Safety Act, the US Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), and state bills in Utah, Texas, California, and Louisiana (to name a few). We are interested in the empirical evidence behind these bills, larger “moral panics” around youth and technology, and such legislation’s potential impact on the lives and well-being of young people. 

 

Research Outputs

Preventing Tech-Fueled Political Violence: What online platforms can do to ensure they do not contribute to election-related violence

May 22, 2024

With extremist militias mobilizing ahead of the 2024 election, platforms must urgently address electoral threats to ensure a peaceful conduct of elections and the holding and transfer of power. 

Patrons of commerce: asymmetrical reciprocity and moral economies of platform power

May 21, 2024

Aaron Shapiro, Courtlyn Pippert, Jacob Smith & Zari A. Taylor investigate what platforms owe their users and vice versa, using asymmetrical reciprocity to critique platform power and showing through vignettes how users push back against exploitative policies.

Safeguarding the Peaceful Transfer of Power: Pro-Democracy Electoral Frames and Journalist Coverage of Election Deniers During the 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections

May 7, 2024

Hesoo Jang and Daniel Kreiss find that journalists repeatedly fail to direct public attention to how election denial undermines the legitimacy of the electoral process.

“You Could Hear a Hair Pin Drop”: Queer Utopianism and Informal Knowledge Production in the Gaylor Closeting Conspiracy Theory

May 7, 2024

Yvonne Eadon analyzes TikTok videos to understand how Gaylor community members parse evidence and collectively develop community lore.

Strategically Hijacking Victimhood: A Political Communication Strategy in the Discourse of Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump

April 3, 2024

The concept of “hijacked victimhood” illustrates how politicians and others in elite positions craft narratives strategically portraying dominant groups as victims

Presidential Authority and the Legitimation of Far-Right News

March 28, 2024

How did Trump use the power of the presidency to contribute to the rise of far-right news outlets among Republican legislators and mainstream American media?

Ms. Categorized: Gender, notability, and inequality on Wikipedia

March 14, 2024

Francesca Tripodi writes to understand how inequalities in whose biographies are flagged as potentially non-notable itself entrenches gender inequality—and perpetuates a culture where women’s accomplishments are systematically devalued and rendered invisible

Media and January 6th

February 16, 2024

Media and January 6th brings together a diverse group of leading scholars to help us more clearly understand the relationship between media and the attempted coup.

What’s in your PIE?

February 4, 2024

showcase the capabilities of PIEGraph to provide unique insight into the kinds of content users encounter on X.

Data Controllers as Data Fiduciaries

February 4, 2024

Noelle Wilson and Amanda Reid examine two common regulatory models discussed in the context of U.S. consumer privacy law.