About Us

NYU building and flag

NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics is an academic research institute dedicated to studying how social media impacts politics, policy, and democracy.

Social media has transformed politics around the world and the way we receive and engage with information. NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics (CSMaP) hosts a global community of scholars to study this impact. Our rigorous, policy-relevant research harnesses social media data to study politics in new ways and explores how social media affects public opinion and political behavior. Through innovative research, teaching, and outreach, CSMaP advances scientific knowledge and informs public policy and discourse in the digital age.

Our organization was founded in 2012 as the Social Media and Political Participation Lab at NYU. In 2019, we officially launched as the Center for Social Media and Politics as part of the Knight Foundation’s program to support research on information in the digital age. The Center is co-directed by Professors Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler, and Joshua A. Tucker.

OUR WORK

AREAS OF STUDY

  • Information & Misinformation

  • Public Opinion

  • Elite & Mass Political Behavior

  • Media Consumption

  • Foreign Influence Campaigns
  • Political Polarization

  • Authoritarian Response to Online Opposition

  • Data Science Methodology

SUPPORT

Funding Statement:

The Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab was founded in 2012 by an NSF INSPIRE Grant Award (SES-1248077), to support scientific research that lies outside of disciplinary boundaries with the promise of transformational advances. Since its inception, the SMaPP Lab has been supported by a broad range of funders, including private foundations, New York University’s Global Institute for Advanced Studies, and a second NSF grant (SES-1756657). This generous support has enabled SMaPP to bring together a diverse group of scholars dedicated to studying the relationship between social media and politics. 

In July of 2019, the Center for Social Media and Politics was formed through the Knight Foundation’s program for Research on the Future of an Informed Society. The Knight Foundation’s gift was matched by The Charles Koch Foundation, and CSMaP has been further supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and The Siegel Family Endowment. 

Our funders provide general operating support and/or project specific support. For general operating support, there are no promised products or deliverables. For project specific funding, we agree to produce research  (e.g. papers or data reports) on topics agreed upon during the application process. However, there are no promised results, lab scholars carry out the research on the basis of the best scientific practices, and no funder is ever given the right to block publication of research. We welcome the support of funders committed to these principles and our core mission of research on social media and politics, the use of social media data to better understand politics, and the development of tools to facilitate that research.  

Philanthropy is vital to our work. Gifts and grants fund everything we do, from undertaking ambitious research to building out a talented team of researchers.  We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received. Detailed below is a list of grants and gifts, in alphabetical order, with a brief explanation of their purpose: 

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: grant to support a Moore-Sloan postdoctoral fellow.

Charles Koch Foundation: grant for general operating support.

Craig Newmark Philanthropies: gift for general operating support, as well as a gift to study news rating approaches to combating misinformation.

Democracy Fund: grant to support data collection and analysis infrastructure around the 2018 U.S. elections.

Gates Foundation: grant to study 1) the information ecosystem of political conversations on Twitter, and 2) whether elected representatives lead or follow the public in discussion of public policy issues on Twitter.

Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation: grant to support a Moore-Sloan postdoctoral fellow.

Hewlett Foundation: grant to study 1) echo chambers, 2) political knowledge, 3) Twitter bots, and 4) fake news dissemination.

Intel Corporation: gift to support one Center for Data Science doctoral student.

Knight Foundation: grant for general operating support; previous grant to study echo chambers, political knowledge, and the relationship between traditional media and social media. 

National Science Foundation (SES-1756657): grant to study the role of both domestic and foreign bots in political conversations on Twitter.

NYU’s Global Institute for Advanced Study: grant for general operating support. 

Rita Allen Foundation: grant to support a postdoctoral fellow.  

Siegel Family Endowment: gift for general operating support.