Our four-part series brought together leading scholars to explore the intersection of social media, politics, and democracy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Our virtual seminar series highlighted the latest research and explore the following questions:
November 2: How do new and niche social media platforms fit into the broader online landscape and what impact could they have in 2022? (Watch video)
October 26: How does age influence our political and cultural divisions, and how will this generational conflict define politics in the coming decade? (Watch video)
October 19: How do candidates and officeholders use social media to drive the political conversation? (Watch video)
October 12: How does media coverage, news consumption, and social media behavior affect polarization and belief in misinformation? (Watch video)
This event series was co-sponsored by NYU Votes.
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
For years, Facebook and Twitter dominated scholarly research about the social media landscape. But in the last few years, new video-based social networks and alt-platforms have emerged. How do these platforms fit into the broader online ecosystem and what impact could they have in 2022? This seminar presented new research on YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, political communications on TikTok, and the right-wing platforms Gab, Gettr, Parler, and Truth Social.
Parker Bach is a PhD student at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a Graduate Student Affiliate with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life — both at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research focuses on digital politics, political humor, internet culture, and the American Right. He will present ongoing research on political TikTok examining cross-partisan dynamics and the role of video creator identity in political content on the platform.
Megan A. Brown is a Senior Research Engineer and Research Scientist at NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics. As research engineer, Brown collects and maintains large-scale collections of social media and digital trace data for the purposes of social science research. In her research endeavors, she studies cross-platform media manipulation, political bias in algorithmic systems, and the effect of platform governance and moderation policies on the spread of political content. She will present a working paper, “Echo Chambers, Rabbit Holes, and Algorithmic Bias: How YouTube Recommends Content to Real Users.”
David Thiel is the Big Data Architect and Chief Technology Officer of the Stanford Internet Observatory. Prior to Stanford, David worked at Facebook, primarily focusing on security and safety for Facebook Connectivity, a collection of projects aimed at providing faster and less expensive internet connectivity to unconnected or underconnected communities. He will present research on the right-wing platforms Parler, Gettr, Gab, and Truth Social.
Joshua A. Tucker is Professor of Politics, affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, and affiliated Professor of Data Science at New York University. He is the Director of NYU’s Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia, a Co-Director of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics, and a co-author/editor of the award-winning politics and policy blog The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post. His research includes studies on the effects of network diversity on tolerance, partisan echo chambers, online hate speech, the effects of exposure to social media on political knowledge, online networks and protest, disinformation and fake news, how authoritarian regimes respond to online opposition, and Russian bots and trolls.
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
The Baby Boomers are the largest and most powerful generation in recent American history. They dominate cultural and political institutions and make up the largest slice of the electorate. They’re also, on average, whiter, wealthier, and more conservative than younger generations, placing them increasingly at odds with those voters.
In this seminar, Penn State University Assistant Professor and CSMaP Faculty Affiliate Kevin Munger discusses his new book, which marshals novel data and survey evidence to argue that generational conflict will define the politics of the next decade. Munger examines the historical trends that made the Baby Boomers so consequential, traces the emergence of age-based political and cultural divisions, and explains how a shared identity and purpose among Millennials and Gen Z could topple Boomer power. Particular focus will be placed on how age impacts and is impacted by the new media environment.
The conversation is moderated by Charlotte Alter, a senior correspondent at TIME covering politics and social issues. She is also author of The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America, which chronicles how the unique political and economic circumstances of millennial youth have shaped their political leanings, and how they’re pushing back against Boomer dominance.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Social media is a key tool for candidates and lawmakers to share policy positions, connect with voters, and fundraise. This seminar presented new research on how congressional candidates and officeholders use social media to gain media attention, raise money, respond to crises, and shape the broader political conversation.
Maggie Macdonald is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics. Her research focuses on political communication and American politics, specifically elections. Her main area of interest is how political actors, such as politicians and their campaigns, strategically use new technologies like social media to achieve their goals and what the effect (if any) of these behaviors are. She will present a working paper, “The Democratizing and Polarizing Impact of Fundraising on Twitter.”
Shannon McGregor is an Assistant Professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a Senior Researcher with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life — both at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research addresses the role of social media and their data in political processes, with a focus on political communication, journalism, public opinion, and gender. She will present a working paper, “Presidential authority and the legitimation of far-right news.”
Annelise Russell is a Research Fellow at the Library of Congress, working on a project to detail the history and current trajectory of digital politics in Congress and what that means for congressional capacity, media relations, and political reputation-making. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Martin School for Public Policy at the University of Kentucky doing research on public policy within Congress, with an emphasis on how new media platforms shape policymaking. She will present research from her latest book project, “Tweeting Scared: Congressional Crisis Communication and Constrained Capacity.”
Zeve Sanderson is the founding Executive Director of NYU's Center for Social Media and Politics. In his role, he helps lead the Center's strategy, operations, and management. His research interests focus on measuring the diffusion and impacts of harmful online speech, as well as empirically testing the efficacy of interventions. He speaks regularly to academic, media, and government audiences, and his writing has appeared in both popular and scholarly outlets.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Social media has transformed the media and political landscape, but the vast majority of Americans still get their news from traditional sources such as local TV, cable TV, radio, and newspapers. As the media environment continues to fracture, how does news consumption and social media behavior affect how voters think about and engage in politics? This seminar presented new research on news exposure online, media consumption and the spread of misinformation in both English and Spanish, and the effects of partisan media on viewers’ beliefs and attitudes.
Joshua Kalla is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University with a secondary appointment as Assistant Professor of Statistics and Data Science. His research studies political persuasion, prejudice reduction, and decision-making among voters and political elites, primarily through the use of randomized field experiments. He will present a working paper, “The impacts of selective partisan media exposure: A field experiment with Fox News viewers.”
Jonathan Nagler is a Co-Director of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics and Professor of Politics and affiliated faculty at the Center of Data Science at New York University. Nagler’s research focuses on voting and elections, and the role of social media, as well as traditional media, in politics. He will present findings from the CSMaP Bilingual Election Monitor project, which examines media consumption, discussion of political issues, and the spread of information in both English and Spanish in the lead up to the 2022 U.S. elections.
Magdalena Wojcieszak is a Professor of Communication at the University of California, Davis and an Associate Researcher at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam, where she directs the European Research Council grant ERC EXPO. Her research focuses on the selection of news and political information in the current media environment and on information effects on individual socio-political outcomes. Wojcieszak will present "No Polarization From Partisan News: Over-Time Evidence From Trace Data," published in The International Journal of Press/Politics, and other research on news exposure online.
Homa Hosseinmardi is an Associate Research Scientist in the Computational Social Science Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research utilizes advances in computational methods to study misleading and biased information; political radicalization and algorithmic bias on online platforms; and misbehavior on online social networks. She is co-author of “Quantifying partisan news diets in Web and TV audiences,” published in July 2022 in Science Advances, and "Examining the consumption of radical content on YouTube," published in 2021 in PNAS.