Dr. Solomon Messing Joins CSMaP as Research Associate Professor

January 31, 2023  ·   News

As a leader in applied data science with high-level experience across Twitter, Meta, and Pew, Messing will leverage his strong technical background and deep knowledge of the platforms to expand CSMaP’s research capacity.

We’re thrilled to announce that Dr. Solomon Messing — a leader in applied data science with high-level experience across Twitter, Meta, and Pew Research Center — has joined NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics (CSMaP) as a Research Associate Professor. 

In this role, which is partially funded by support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Messing will expand CSMaP’s research capacity, identify new areas for inquiry based on a deep understanding of platforms, and inform public policy and discourse by bridging the academia-industry divide.

“There have been significant strides made to produce rigorous, policy-relevant research about the impact of social networks and the online information environment,”  said Joshua A. Tucker, co-director of CSMaP. “However, as outside researchers, academics lack insider knowledge of how these black-boxed platforms work. Sol is a world-class researcher who can help us bridge this gap, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to our team.”

“With the recent sea change at Twitter and Meta, and as policymakers work to reshape laws governing the online sphere, it’s more important than ever to conduct innovative research and advance evidence-based public policy about social media and democracy,” added CSMaP Executive Director Zeve Sanderson. “Sol will leverage his strong technical talent and deep knowledge of the platforms to do just that. Not only will he expand CSMaP’s research output, but he will mentor students and postdocs, bring a new perspective to our work, and translate our findings for key groups in the field.”

Messing received his PhD in Political Communication from Stanford University in 2013, where his research focusing on social influence and social structure in digital environments was published in Communication Research. He also authored a large and influential Science study on algorithmic bias, media polarization, and filter bubbles. 

Since then, Messing has held numerous roles across industry and civil society. He led a data science research group at Pew Research Center, led the technical effort to launch Facebook’s largest ever data sharing effort to facilitate the study of misinformation, and managed several data science teams at Twitter. During the 2020 election cycle, Messing was Chief Scientist at ACRONYM, where he conducted the largest ever digital political advertising field experiment, the results of which were recently published in Nature Human Behavior.

“NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics is one of the leading academic institutes working to understand politics, improve the public conversation, and strengthen democracy in the digital age,” said Messing. “I’ve admired CSMaP for many years and am thrilled to join this diverse team of researchers, and to help shape the future of research in this critical and growing field.”