Analysis and Theory

Announcing the 2024-2025 RSM Visiting Scholars

May 29, 2024

The Institute for Rebooting Social Media is thrilled to announce its 2024-25 cohort of Visiting Scholars. These seven visiting faculty members will use their time with the Institute to investigate urgent social media problems and propose mitigations for harmful online phenomena.

The Institute for Rebooting Social Media (RSM) at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center (BKC) is thrilled to announce its cohort of Visiting Scholars for the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year. With backgrounds in communications, computer science, journalism, mathematics, network economics, and political science, these seven visiting faculty members will use their time with the Institute to study critical online phenomena and envision, prototype, and convene stakeholders around needed solutions. 

“These extraordinary scholars can help reimagine digital platforms to foster meaningful human connection,” said Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of the Institute for Rebooting Social Media. “And they will help catalyze others to join the effort, including and especially our students.”

Aymar Jean Christian, Myojung Chung, Noah Giansiracusa, Eric Gilbert, Paul Resnick, Allison Stanger, and Marshall Van Alstyne have each produced field-leading scholarship across disciplines related to social media and online connection. With the Institute, a number of scholars will advance research related to misinformation on platforms and in digital advertising markets, while others will focus on topics such as bridging algorithms, social media governance, and reparative social media.     

“As social media technologies have grown in their complexity and their influence, it has become increasingly important to use an interdisciplinary approach to study the political, economic, and psychological impacts of social media,” said James Mickens, co-director of the Institute for Rebooting Social Media. “I’m excited to welcome a cohort of scholars that brings diverse methodologies and experiences to the challenge of making social media better.”

The Visiting Scholars will spend a portion of the academic year in residence at the Berkman Klein Center’s home in the Reginald F. Lewis Law Center at Harvard Law School. Scholars will collaborate with Institute faculty, staff, affiliates, and students; other projects and programs under the Berkman Klein Center umbrella, including the Applied Social Media Lab; and the broader BKC and Harvard University communities with the goal of producing research that is both academically rigorous and accessible to diverse audiences.

The Visiting Scholars Program is part of the Institute for Rebooting Social Media’s larger portfolio of programming, research, and educational opportunities. The Institute and its programs are supported by generous contributions from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Reid Hoffman, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Archewell Foundation.

About the 2024-2025 RSM Visiting Scholars

Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Media and Data Equity Lab at Northwestern University. He is the author of Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television (NYU Press, 2018) and the forthcoming Reparative Media: Cultivating Stories and Platforms to Heal Our Culture (MIT Press). During the fellowship, AJ will be researching how Black and other people of color navigate algorithmic intelligence on social media/AI platforms and developing frameworks for reparative interventions. 

Myojung Chung is an assistant professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on the intersection of digital media, misinformation, and policy making. Her research at RSM will explore the balance between achieving desired outcomes and minimizing unintended side effects of interventions targeting misinformation, with a focus on information justice to reduce digital divides in the post-truth era.

Noah Giansiracusa is an associate professor of mathematics at Bentley University in nearby Waltham, MA. His recent work focuses on the data-driven algorithms that shape our information ecosystem, and helping policy makers and the public better understand the impact they have on society. As a visiting scholar, he plans to focus on the algorithmic auctions that ad tech companies use to place ads across the web—and how these could be adjusted to more effectively defund disinformation.

Eric Gilbert is a professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He is a sociotechnologist, with a research focus on building and studying social computing systems. For the coming year, his work will focus on social media governance.

Paul Resnick is the Michael D. Cohen Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information and Director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility. At the Institute, he will focus on interventions that reduce affective polarization, including bridging algorithms which select content that appeals to people who often disagree.

Allison Stanger is the Middlebury Distinguished Endowed Professor, Co-Director of the GETTING-Plurality Research Network at Harvard University, and an External Professor and Science Board member at the Santa Fe Institute. While at RSM, Stanger will be working on a book, Who Elected Big Tech?. Her piece with Jaron Lanier on imagining a world without Section 230 appeared in Wired in February 2024, and she testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the same topic in April 2024. In May 2024, the House introduced bipartisan legislation to sunset Section 230 as of December 31, 2025.

Marshall Van Alstyne is the Questrom Professor of Information Systems at Boston University and co-author of the international bestseller Platform Revolution. His award-winning research considers how information affects firms, innovation, and society.  At the Institute for Rebooting Social Media, he will focus on platform governance with an emphasis on promoting robust and healthy free speech, while reducing misinformation, with no censorship and no central authority judging truth.

Sam Hinds
BKC Director of Communications