New York University Launches New Center to Study How Information Flows Online

New York University (NYU) announced today its new Center for Social Media and Politics. A mix of philanthropies including the Knight Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Craig Newman Philanthropies, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, among others, have committed to support the new initiative.

Led by NYU Professors Joshua Tucker, Jonathan Nagler, and Richard Bonneau, the center will build on five years of interdisciplinary collaboration driven by Social Media and Political Participation Lab (SMaPP).

“’Our primary research goals are to understand how information spreads both within and across digital platforms in this new information environment, the effect this has on individual political beliefs and behaviors, and how leaders respond to this complex terrain,’ explains Jonathan Nagler, one of the center’s co-directors, along with Joshua A. Tucker and Richard Bonneau.

The Center for Social Media and Politics (CSMaP) will also be funded by the Siegel Family Endowment, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This portfolio of funders will provide a larger infrastructure to support the work of NYU’s Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab, which is currently funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, Intel Corporation, the Democracy Fund, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1756657), as well as the Knight and Hewlett Foundations. The SMaPP lab was established in 2012 and supports research on the impact of social media on politics, the use of social media data to study politics, and the development of open source tools for working with social media data.”

By better understanding the flow of information online, researchers can more readily understand the impacts of digital technologies on an individual’s ability to engage in all aspects of society including civic life as well education, business, and communities. For a deeper dive into previous topics explored by NYU, read “Shut down social media if you don’t like terrorism?” and “Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook” which sample how Profs. Nagler and Tucker apply their scholarship.

Read more about the center here, and read the grant agreement here.

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