About

NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics works to strengthen democracy by conducting rigorous research, advancing evidence-based public policy, and training the next generation of scholars.

Over the past two decades, social media and other digital technologies have transformed our society. It’s made it easier than ever to find information, engage with politics, and connect with people across the globe. But it’s also helped fuel misinformation, enable harassment, and foment polarization, presenting urgent challenges to democratic governance.

Today, as these technologies become increasingly vital to politics and public life, policymakers in the U.S. and abroad are reshaping the laws and regulations governing the online sphere. At NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics, our work is animated by the belief that, to be effective, these policies must be informed by high-quality empirical evidence. 

Through innovative research, teaching, and outreach, we work to understand politics, improve the public conversation, and strengthen democracy in the digital age.

Our goals:

  • Conduct rigorous research at scale to better understand politics. To solve the urgent democratic challenges introduced by new technologies, we must have a deep and nuanced understanding of their broad impacts. CSMaP uses big data analysis and experimental methods to interrogate some of the deeply flawed assumptions about social media — so the political conversation can be driven by facts, not fiction. Learn more about our areas of study

  • Advance evidence-based public policy and discourse. The impact of social media on politics has garnered significant regulatory and media scrutiny. But the online media environment is massive and complex, and studying it requires diverse substantive expertise and cutting-edge methodological innovation. Leveraging our research and data infrastructure, CSMaP informs evidence-based public policy and discourse through analysis, commentary, and events. Read more about how we drive public impact

  • Train the next generation of scholars and students. Pushing the boundaries of academic study requires a talented and cross-disciplinary group of researchers with knowledge of the latest data and social science techniques. By training students and postdocs, CSMaP develops a new generation of scholars and experts to explore some of the biggest questions at the intersection of social media and democracy. See more about our team.

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 Jonathan Nagler and Joshua A. Tucker.

Our Work

  • Academic Research

    CSMaP publishes peer-reviewed research in top academic journals and produces rigorous data reports on policy relevant topics.

  • Field Building

    We place postdocs and students in top academic and industry positions, and regularly host experts for seminars, conferences, and lab meetings.

  • Public Impact

    CSMaP informs public policy with research on pressing topics, adds scientific rigor to media coverage, and convenes leading experts for urgent conversations.

  • Tools & Method Development

    To complete our research and support the broader scholarly community, we develop open source software packages, methods, and data sets.

Funding

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. Our funders provide general operating support and/or project specific support. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received.