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Curriculum Vitae

Ethan Zuckerman

ethanz@umass.edu  |  ethanzuckerman.com


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
Work towards MFA in Electronic Arts, 1994-5. Withdrew to pursue professional interests.

University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
Studied Ethnomusicology under a Fulbright fellowship, 1993-4.

Williams College, Williamstown, MA
B.A., Philosophy (cum laude) 1993

Academic Experience

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (2021- )
Associate Professor of Public Policy, Communication and Information

Columbia University, New York, NY (2020-2021)
Visiting Scholar, Knight First Amendment Institute

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (2009, 2011-2020)
Associate Professor of the Practice of Media Arts and Sciences,
MIT Media Lab, 2016 – August 2020
Joint appointment to Comparative Media Studies and Writing, 2017 – August 2020
Principal Research Scientist, MIT Media Lab, 2011 – 2016
Visiting Scientist, MIT Media Lab, 2011
Research Fellow, MIT Media Lab, 2009

Harvard University, Cambridge MA (2003-2011)
Senior Researcher, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, 2005-2011
Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, 2003-2005

Williams College, Williamstown MA (2001)
Visiting Lecturer, winter 2001

Non-Academic Experience

Open Society Foundations, New York, NY
Special Advisor to the President, 2017-present

Ford Foundation, New York, NY
Advisor to the President, 2014-2018

Global Voices, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Co-founder, Executive Director, 2006-2008

Geekcorps, North Adams, MA
Co-founder, Executive Director, 1999-2004

Tripod, Inc. Williamstown, MA
VP, R&D and founding team member, 1994-1999

Honors and Awards

MIT MLK Leadership Award 2016
Zocalo Public Square Book Prize for “Rewire” 2014
Bicentennial Medal, Williams College 2014
World Economic Forum “Young Global Leader” 2004
World Economic Forum “Global Leader for Tomorrow” 2003
TR 35, MIT Technology Review 2002
Technology in Service of Humanity Award, MIT Technology Review 2002
Fulbright Fellowship, University of Ghana, Legon 1993

Research Funding Received

Knight Foundation, Support for International Hate Observatory ($1.6m, three years) 2019
MacArthur Foundation, Core support for Center for Civic Media ($650k, two years) 2017
Knight Foundation, Media Innovation Program, Research on decentralized publishing ($219k, 2 years) 2016
Ford Foundation, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Program ($185k, two years) 2016
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support Media Cloud ($1.1m, 2 years) 2015
Gates Foundation to support Media Cloud ($1.1m, 2 years) 2015
YouTube, support development of tools to add context to streamed video ($100k, I year) 2015
Google Ideas to support launch of Promise Tracker in São Paulo, Brazil ($60k, 3 months) 2015
Knight Foundation, Journalism Program, support to launch Future of News Program ($1.6m, 3 years) 2014
Ford Foundation, Internet Freedom Program, Sexual and Reproductive Health
and Rights Program ($800k, two years)
Open Society Foundation, US Programs to support Media Cloud ($600k, two years) 2012
Knight Foundation, Journalism Program and Communities program,
to support Center for Civic Media ($3m, 3 years)
Ford Foundation, research support on Media Cloud ($200,000) 2008
Open Society Foundations, research on Distributed Denial of Service Attacks ($250,000) 2007
US Department of State, research support on Internet Circumvention ($300,000) 2007
Reuters Foundation, core support for Global Voices ($180,000) 2006
MacArthur Foundation, core support for Global Voices ($150,000) 2005

Bibliography and Products of Scholarship


Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in our Institutions is Fuel for Fixing Them (scheduled for January 2021, W.W. Norton) 

Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (June 2013, W.W. Norton)

Papers in Refereed Journals:

Zuckerman, Matias, Bhargava, Bermejo, Ko (2019) “Whose Death Matters? A Quantitative Analysis of Media Attention to Deaths of Black Americans in Police Confrontations, 2013–2016”, International Journal of Communications, 13, 27 

Roberts, Seymour, Fish II, Robinson & Zuckerman (2017) “Digital Health Communication and Global Public Influence: A Study of the Ebola Epidemic,” Journal of Health Communication Vol. 22 , Iss. sup1

Zuckerman (2014) “New Media, New Civics?”. Policy & Internet, 6: 151–168. doi: 10.1002/1944-2866.POI360

Graeff, Stempeck, Zuckerman (2014) “The Battle for ‘Trayvon Martin’: Mapping a Media Controversy Offline and Online”, First Monday Volume 19, Number 2

Zuckerman (2010) “Decentralizing the Mobile Phone – A Second ICT4D Revolution?”, Information Technology and International Development, volume 6:99-103

Zuckerman (2010) “International Reporting in the Age of Participatory Media”, Daedalus

Zuckerman (2009) “Web 2.0 tools for development: simple tools for smart people.” Participatory Learning and Action 59.1 (2009): 87-94.

Zuckerman (2008) “Meet the Bridgebloggers”, Public Choice 134:1-2

Papers in Refereed Conference Proceedings:

Bhargava, Bishop, & Zuckerman (2020, February) Mapping and Visualizing News Images for Media Research. Computation + Journalism, Northeastern University, 2020. 

Bhargava, Chung, Gaikwad, Hope, Jen, Rubinovitz & Zuckerman (2019, November). Gobo: A System for Exploring User Control of Invisible Algorithms in Social Media. In Conference Companion Publication of the 2019 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 151-155). ACM.

Hope, D’Ignazio, Hoy, Michelson, Roberts, Krontiris & Zuckerman, (2019, April). Hackathons as Participatory Design: Iterating Feminist Utopias. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 61). ACM.

Matias, Szalavitz, Zuckerman, (2017) “FollowBias: Supporting Behavior Change toward Gender Equality by Networked Gatekeepers on Social Media” in “Proceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing”.

Orne, Reilly, Chase, Deokar, Linder, Goyal, Paradiso and Zuckerman (2016). Sambaza Watts: a nano-grid for accessing and sharing energy. CIRED workshop, Helsinki.

D’Ignazio, Hope, Michelson, Churchill, and Zuckerman, (2016) A Feminist HCI Approach to Designing Postpartum Technologies: When I first saw a breast pump I was wondering if it was a joke. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2612-2622). ACM.

Matias, Diehl, & Zuckerman. (2015, April). Passing on: Reader-sourcing gender diversity in Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1073-1078). ACM.

Platt, Bhargava & Zuckerman (2015, April). The international affiliation network of YouTube trends. In Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media.

D’Ignazio, Bhargava, Zuckerman, & Beck (2014). Cliff-clavin: Determining geographic focus for news. NewsKDD: Data Science for News Publishing, at KDD, 2014.

Lehmann, Castillo, Lalmas, and Zuckerman. (2013) “Finding news curators in twitter.” In Proceedings of the 22nd international conference on World Wide Web companion, pp. 863-870. International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee.

Lehmann, Castillo, Lalmas, and Zuckerman. (2013) “Transient News Crowds in Social Media.” In ICWSM.

Zuckerman, (2010, October). A wider web, a wider world. In Proceedings of the 38th annual ACM SIGUCCS fall conference: navigation and discovery (pp. 1-2). ACM.

Roberts, Zuckerman, & Palfrey, (2009) “2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools”, in proceedings of 2009 China Internet Research Conference, University of Pennsylvania.

Book Chapters:

Zuckerman, (2020). “Without My City, Where is My Past?” in Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination, ed. Henry Jenkins et al., NYU Press. 

York & Zuckerman (2019). “Moderating the Public Sphere” in Human Rights in the Age of Platforms, MIT Press.

D’Ignazio & Zuckerman (2017). “Are We Citizen Scientists, Citizen Sensors or Something Else Entirely?: Popular Sensing and Citizenship for the Internet of Things” in International Handbook of Media Literacy Education. Routledge.

Zuckerman (2015) “Effective Civics in a Digital Age”, in The Civic Media Reader, ed. Eric Gordon, MIT Press.

Zuckerman (2015) “Should journalism be a surveillance-safe space?” chapter in Journalism After Snowden, ed. Emily Bell. New York: Columbia University Press.

Zuckerman (2015) “Cute Cats to the Rescue? Participatory Media and Political Expression”, in From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in a Digital Age, ed. Danielle S. Allen and Jennifer S. Light, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Zuckerman (2013) “From Weird to Wide” in Spreadable Media, ed. Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green.  New York: NYU Press.

Zuckerman (2010) “Intermediary Censorship” in Access Controlled, Deibert, Palfrey, Rohozinski and Zittrain, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Zuckerman (2009) “Citizen Media in the Kenyan Electoral Crisis”, in Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives, ed. Allen & Thorsen, New York: Peter Lang.

Zuckerman (2005) “Making Room for the Third World in the Second Superpower” in Extreme Democracy.

White papers, working papers and briefings:

Zuckernan (2020) “What is Digital Public Infrastructure: an essay in the form of a FAQ”, Open Markets Institute whitepaper (forthcoming). 

Zuckerman (2019) “The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure” in The Tech Giants, Monopoly Power, and Public Discourse, proceedings from symposium at Columbia Law and Journalism, forthcoming.

Zuckerman (2019) “Beyond the Vast Wasteland” in Internet, Big Data and Algorithms: Threats to Privacy and Freedom or Gateway to a New Future, Aspen Institute Congressional Briefing, May 2019

Cardon, Lenoir, Patino & Zuckerman (2019) “‘Media Polarization ‘à la française’? Comparing the French and American ecosystems” Institute Montaigne research publication

Benkler, Roberts, Faris, Etling, Zuckerman & Bourassa, (2017). “Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 US Presidential Election.” Berkman Center Research Publication

Zuckerman, (2017). “Mistrust, efficacy and the new civics: Understanding the deep roots of the crisis of faith in journalism.” Commissioned white paper for Knight Foundation

Zuckerman (2017) “Imagining Decentralized Publishing and Curation,” SSRC Items, February 8, 2017.

Barabas, Nerula, & Zuckerman, (2017) “Defending ​​Internet ​​Freedom​ ​through​​Decentralization: Back​​ to ​​the ​​Future?“ White paper, Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab.

Roberts, Zuckerman, Faris, York, & Palfrey (2011). The evolving landscape of Internet control. Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Zuckerman, Roberts, McGrady, York and Palfrey (2011) “Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites”, Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Faris, Roberts, Heacock, Zuckerman, and Gasser (2011) “Online security in the Middle East and North Africa: A survey of perceptions, knowledge and practice.” Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Robert, Zuckerman, York, Faris, Palfrey (2010) “2010 Circumvention Tool Usage Report”, Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Aday, Farrell, Lynch, Sides, Kelly, and Zuckerman (2010) “Blogs and bullets: New media in contentious politics.” US Institute of Peace publication

Zuckerman (2008, October). The Polyglot Internet. In World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet (Vol. 30).

Zuckerman (2003) “Global Attention Profiles: Working Paper”, Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Zuckerman & McLaughlin (2003). Introduction to internet architecture and institutions.” Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Popular press:

Zuckerman (2020) “Why Filming Police Violence Has Done Nothing To Stop It.” Techology Review, June 3, 2020. 

Zuckerman (2019) “Building a More Honest Internet.” Columbia Journalism Review, Fall 2019.

Gessen & Zuckerman (2019), “Unreality and Social Corrosion: Interview” in Journal of Design and Science, 6: Unreal. MIT Press.

Zuckerman (2019) “QAnon and the Emergence of the Unreal” in Journal of Design and Science, 6: Unreal. MIT Press.

Zuckerman (2019) “French media is polarizing. But not in the way we expected.” cjr.org May 13, 2019

Baumgartner, Bermejo, Ndulue & Zuckerman “What we learned from analyzing thousands of stories on the Christchurch shooting.” cjr.org March 26, 2019

Zuckerman “Crisis Prevention: Four Problems with News and Democracy.” editorandpublisher.com August 6, 2018

Benkler, Faris, Roberts & Zuckerman (2017). Study: Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda. Columbia Journalism Review, 1(4.1), p.7.

Zuckerman (2016) “The Perils of Using Technology to Solve Other People’s Problems”, The Atlantic, June 23, 2016

Schiffrin & Zuckerman (2015) “Measuring Media Impact”, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Zuckerman (2014) “The Internet’s Original Sin”, The Atlantic, August 14, 2014

Zuckerman (2014) “YouTube Parody as Politics: How the World Made Pharrell Cry”, The Atlantic, May 24, 2014.

MacKinnon  & Zuckerman (2012). “Don’t feed the trolls.” Index on Censorship 41, no. 4 (2012) : 14-24.

Zuckerman (2012) “A Small World After All?”, Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2012

Zuckerman (2011) “The First Twitter Revolution?”, Foreign Policy, January 15, 2011

Zuckerman (2010). The Attention Deficit: Plenty of Content, Yet an Absence of Interest. Nieman Reports, 64(3), 15.

Zuckerman (2010). Advocacy, agenda and attention: Unpacking unstated motives in NGO journalism. Nieman Lab, 19.

Zuckerman, Ethan (2008) “Serendipity, Echo Chambers, and the Front Page.” Nieman Reports 62, no. 4

Zuckerman & MacKinnon (2006) “Gathering Voices to Share With a Worldwide Online Audience”, Nieman Reports

Zuckerman (2004) “Using the Internet to Examine Patterns of Foreign Coverage”, Nieman Reports


Social change projects:

Geekcorps (1999-2003). US-based nonprofit organization which recruited volunteers from the technology industry and paired them with small IT companies in developing nations. Over 4 years, Geekcorps provided roughly 100 volunteers for 3-6 month tours to 13 developing nations, before merging operations with IESC, an established volunteering organization. Role: co-founder, executive director. 

NetGain (2014 – present) Led by the Ford Foundation, NetGain is a collaboration between leading US foundations – Open Society, Knight, MacArthur, Omidyar, Mozilla – to address persistent issues around equality and access to the Internet. Twice a year, a Foundation convenes leading thinkers on topics of surveillance, hiring diversity, structural decentralization and internet governance, and makes joint grants to advance mutually agreed priorities. Role: Helped design and launch program for Ford Foundation, advisor.

Journalism projects:

BlogAfrica (2003 – 2009) Aggregator of blogs from Sub-Saharan Africa, launched in conjunction with the AllAfrica news syndication network. Role: Co-founder, software developer

Global Voices (2004 – present) International network of authors and translators who provide international views and perspectives through the lens of social media. Global Voices produces an award winning news website translated into 30 languages, maintains an advocacy arm focused on freedom of speech, an outreach group focused on spreading digital literacy to developing nations and a fair trade translation service. Role: co-founder, former executive director, board chair.

Worldchanging (2005 – 2010) US-based non-profit publisher of online and print materials about technology and environmental sustainability. Role: Founding board chair

Technology projects:

Media Cloud (2007 – present) Open source platform for collecting and analyzing online news media. Open source toolkit for analysis of linking behavior in online news media and for detecting topic emergence and spread in natural language corpora. Role: co-founder, lead researcher 

Ushahidi (2008 –  2015) Kenyan-based nonprofit responsible for a leading open source crowdmapping software package. Ushahidi spawned iHub, a Nairobi-based co-working space and technology incubator and has spun out leading technology companies, including BRCK, a connectivity and content-caching device hardened for developing world conditions. Role: board chair for Ushahidi, advisor.

Editorial projects:

Unreal (2019) – Special issue of Journal of Design and Science, MIT Press. Solicited and edited contributions from scholars. Available online at https://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/issue-6 Role: co-editor, contributor. 

Global Dimensions of Digital Activism (2014) – Workshop and collected volume published online of reflections on digital activism by authors from emerging nations, many of whom were publishing their first scholarly research.

Symposia and Events organized

Exploring Media Ecosystems, MIT Media Lab (2018, 2020) – two day conference on interdisciplinary, mixed-method approaches to understanding the spread of ideas in digital media, featuring 40+ scholars from around the world..

Forbidden Research, MIT Media Lab (2016) – two-day conference on questions of what is allowable as academic and scholarly research, organized with Joi Ito, Jess Sousa and Lorrie LeJeune for 200+ members of the MIT Media Lab community

Freedom to Innovate, MIT Media Lab (2015) – two day conference organized with EFF on legal threats to academic innovation in technology and possible academic responses.

Knight Civic Media annual conference, MIT Media Lab (2011 – 2014) – three-day conference of leading civic media practitioners, organized annually for 200+ participants for four years.

DDoS and Human Rights Summit, Berkman Center, Harvard Law School (2010) – meeting between leading international independent media and human rights organizations and DDoS mitigation providers to discuss denial of service attacks used to silence online speech.

Circumvention Summit, Berkman Center, Harvard Law School (2009) – meeting of leading internet censorship software authors to discuss efficacy and vulnerability of their tools, strategy for cooperation.

Global Voices Civic Media Summit (2005, 2007, 2009) – held biannually in London, New Delhi, Budapest, bringing together leading thinkers on citizen and participatory media in the developing world.

Teaching Experience

Taught at MIT

Term Sub. No. Title Role Enrollment
ST 12 MAS.S61 News and Participatory Media Instructor 6
FT 12 MAS.S62 Data Projects Co-instructor 12
ST 13 MAS.700 News and Participatory Media Instructor 5
FT 13 CMS Comparative Media Workshop Co-instructor 10
FT 13 MAS.S70 Media Lab X Co-instructor 18
ST 14 MAS.700 News and Participatory Media Instructor 8
ST 15 MAS.700 News and Participatory Media Instructor 14
ST 15 CMS.360/860 Introduction to Civic Media Co-instructor 8
FT 15 CMS.S62 The Internet as Social Artifact Co-instructor 19
ST 16 MAS.700 News and Participatory Media Instructor 15
FT 16 MAS.S64 Technology and Social Change Co-instructor ~25
ST 17 MAS.700 News and Participatory Media Instructor 20
ST19 MAS.700 News and Participatory Media Instructor 8
ST20 MAS.S67 Fixing Social Media Instructor 35

Taught at Harvard Law School

Term   Title Role Enrollment
FT 03   Digital Democracy Co-Instructor 30
FT 12   Digital Democracy Co-instructor 30

Taught at Williams College

Term   Title Role Enrollment
WT 2001   Economics of the Internet Instructor 15

Academic and other presentations

I give 20-30 talks per year – notable talks below:

  • March 2020 “The Trouble With Civic Media”, UT Austin Communications, Austin, TX
  • March 2020 “Practical Steps Towards a Less Awful Internet”, TTI Vanguard, Seattle, WA
  • March 2020 “QAnon, Epistemic Fracture and the Study of Post Truth Media”, Mapping Media Ecosystems, MIT, Cambridge MA
  • February 2020 “The Trouble With Civic Media”, Cornell Communications, Ithaca, MY
  • January 2020 “The Trouble With Civic Media”, ILC Communications Hub, UMass Amherst, Amherst MA.
  • November 2019 – “Can We Make Social Media Good for Society?”, Seoul Digital Forum, Seoul, South Korea.
  • October 2019 – “Are Social Networks Bad for Society?”, Medias et Seine, Paris, France.
  • September 2019 – “Normalizing vs. Watchdogging in a Nativist Age”, Online News Association, New Orleans, LA
  • July 2019 – “Understanding Media Ecosystems”, Scuola Normale Superiori, IHSS, Florence, Italy.
  • May 2019 – “Beyond the Vast Wasteland”, Aspen Institute, educational briefing for Congresspeople, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
  • May 2019 – “QAnon and the Unreal”, Media in Transition 9, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
  • December 2018 – “We Make the Media”, Future of Speech Online, Newseum, Washington, DC.
  • October 2018 – “Making Change with Civic Media”, opening keynote, g0v Summit, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Septenber 2018 – “How to Avoid Destroying the World”, closing plenary, EmTech, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
  • August 2018 – “Civic Media and Civic Entertainment”, master class, India Cultural Lab, Mumbai, India.
  • May 2018 – “Two Bens and a Mark”, Media Impact Forum, Philadelphia, PA.
  • October 2017 – “The Future is WEIRD”, Long Now Foundation, Boston, MA.
  • May 2017 – “Can Media Make Change?”, Forum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.
  • April 2017 – “A World Turned Upside Down”, Personal Democracy Forum CEE, Posnan, Poland (via video).
  • December 2016 – “It’s Journalism’s Job to Save Civics”, keynote, Constructive Journalism Summit, Windesheim University, Windesheim, The Netherlands.
  • November 2016 – keynote at Premio Nacional de Periodismo Simón Bolívar, Bogota, Columbia.
  • May 2016 – “What Comes After a Revolution”, Campus Party, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • April 2016 – “Civic Revolutions”, Applied Brilliance, Havana, Cuba.
  • March 2016 – “Government Mistrust and Civic Participation”, televised (CSPAN) address at Rice University, Houston, TX.
  • October 2015 – “Insurrectionist Civics and Digital Activism”, Syracuse Symposium, Syracuse, NY.
  • May 2015 – “The System is Broken, and That’s the Good News”, opening keynote, Re:publica, Berlin.
  • March 2015 – “Mistrust as a Civic Asset”, closing keynote, TICTeC conference, MySociety, London, UK.
  • December 2014 – “Digital Cosmopolitans”, Google Talk, Cambridge, MA.
  • November 2014 – “Civic Media Revolutions”, opening keynote, ITForum/Black Hat, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • November 2014 – “Normalizing Surveillance”, Tow Center, Columbia Journalism School, NYC.
  • September 2014 – “Screwing Up by Not Questioning Assumptions”, BIF10, Providence, RI
  • September 2014 – “Bibliolarceny and the Size of the Universe”, commencement lecture, Williams College
  • May 2014 – “Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection”, Zocalo Public Square Book Prize Address, Los Angeles
  • February 2014 – “Civic Media, Civic Change”, keynote, East West Center Media Conference, Yangon, Myanmar
  • November 2013 – “New Media, New Civics?”, Bellwether Lecture, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, UK
  • September 2013 – “In Defense of Advocacy Journalism”, Nieman Fellowship 75th Anniversary, Cambridge, MA
  • July 2013 – “The Internet is Not Flat”, Ontario Library Association, Toronto, ON
  • June 2013 – “Why Our Webs Are Rarely Worldwide”, Personal Democracy Forum, New York City
  • May 2013 – “Beyond the Crisis in Civics”, opening keynote, Digital Media and Learning, Chicago, IL
  • May 2013 – “Localizing the Parody Remix” Media In Transition 8, Cambridge, MA
  • August 2012 – “The Emergence of Digital Civics” Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  • August 2012 – James Tizard Memorial Lecture, Adelaide, Australia
  • October 2011 – “Cute Cats and the Arab Spring: When Social Media Meet Social Change”, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
  • May 2011 – “Desperately Seeking Serendipity”, closing keynote, ACM SIGCHI 2011
  • June 2010 – “It’s a Big World After All”, TED Global, Oxford UK
  • March 2008 – “The Cute Cat Theory”, O’Reilly Emerging Technology, San Francisco, CA
  • October 2004 – “Geekcorps – a Digital Peace Corps”, Pop!Tech, Camden, ME


University committees

Head Judge, MIT Media Lab Disobedience Prize 2017 – 2019
MIT Media Lab Building Committee 2015 – 2016
MIT Future of Libraries Committee (directed subcommittee on Communities and Relationships) 2015 – 2017
MIT MAS Faculty Search Committee 2014 – 2015
MIT Media Lab Diversity Committee 2014 – 2019

Outside service

Board Member, Advisory Group, Luminate 2019 – present
Board Member, Heatseak (Tenant advocacy NGO) 2018 – present
Strategic Advisor, Ranking Digital Rights 2018 – present
Member, AAAS Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship 2018 – present
Board Member, Human Rights Defense Center 2016 – present
Editorial board member, Journal of Technology Science 2015 – present
Board member, Soros Economic Development Fund 2015 – 2018
Board member, BRCK (Kenyan for-profit social venture) 2014 – 2015
Board member, Open Society Foundations, Global Board 2012 – 2018
Fellowship Advisory Board, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University 2011 – present
Board member or chair, PenPlusBytes (Ghanaian NGO) 2009 – 2019
Board member or chair, Ushahidi (Kenyan NGO) 2009 – 2015
World Economic Forum, Future of the Internet Council 2008 – 2009
Board member, Open Society Foundations, US Board 2008 – 2012
Board chair, Worldchanging.org (US NGO) 2005 – 2007
Advisory board member or chair, Open Society 2004 – 2014
Foundations Information Program Board member or chair, Stichting Global Voices 2004 – present

I currently serve on the advisory boards of Center for Democracy and Technology, Code for America, Data & Society, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Global Giving, Tarbell and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Students Supervised

Doctoral Theses, Advisor:

  • Nathan Matias (2017) Governing Human and Machine Behavior in an Experimenting Society
  • Erhardt Graeff (2018) Evaluating Civic Technology Design for Citizen Empowerment
  • Jia Zhang (2018) The Constant Atlas: Mapping Public Data for Individuals and Their Cities
  • Laura Perovich (2020 – projected)
  • Alexis Hope (2021 – projected)
  • Joy Buolamwini (2021 – projected)
  • Pedro Reynolds-Cuellar (2022 – projected)
  • Chelsea Barabas (2022 – projected)

Doctoral Theses, Reader:

  • Thomas Smythe (2013), Georgia Tech, Social Media, Elections and Democracy in West Africa
  • Karen Brennan (2013), MIT, Best of both worlds: Issues of structure and agency in computational creation, in and out of school.
  • William Li (2016) MIT, Language Technologies for Understanding Law, Politics, and Public Policy
  • Edwina Portocarrero (2017) MIT, Networked Playscapes: Redefining the Playground
  • Amy Zhang (2019) MIT, Systems to Improve Online Discussion

S.M. Theses, Advisor:

SM Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
  • (2020, projected) Arwa Michelle Mboya, “allo-i: Measuring the African Imagination”
  • (2020, projected) Rubez Chong, “Countering Audio Surveillance with Camp”
  • (2017) Joy Buolamwini “Algorithmic Justice League”
  • (2017) Sands Fish “Designing the Police”
  • (2015) Ali Hashmi, “Said-Huntington Discourse Analyzer : a machine-learning tool for classifying and analyzing discourse”
  • (2015) Alexis Hope, “FOLD”
  • (2015) Jude Mwenda, “Mapjack : a mobile based Wiki for collaborative map making”
  • (2014) Erhardt Graeff, “Action path : a location-based tool for civic reflection and engagement”
  • (2014) Catherine d’Ignazio “Engineering serendipity : Terra Incognita and other strange encounters with global news”
  • (2013) Nathan Matias, “Networked tactics for gender representation in the news”
  • (2013) Matt Stempeck, “Participatory aid marketplace : designing online channels for digital humanitarians”
SM Comparative Media Studies, MIT
  • (2020) Anna Chung, “Algorithmic Influence and Resistance”
  • (2016) Gordon Mangum, “DeepStream.tv: Designing Informative and Engaging Live Streaming Video Experiences”
  • (2015) Chelsea Barabas, “Engineering the American dream : a study of bias and perceptions of merit in the high-tech labor market”
  • (2015) Heather Craig, “Interactive data narrative: designing for public engagement”
  • (2014) Rodrigo Davies, “Civic crowdfunding : participatory communities, entrepreneurs and the political economy of place”
  • (2014) Alexandre Gonçalves, “Conflicting Frames : the dispute over the meaning of rolezinhos in Brazilian media”
  • (2013) Chris Peterson, “User-generated censorship : manipulating the maps of social media”
  • (2013) Molly Sauter, “Distributed denial of service actions and the challenge of civil disobedience on the Internet”
Masters in Engineering, MIT
  • (2017) Katrine Tjolsen
  • (2015) Anurag Kashyap

Additionally, I served as reader for more than two dozen Masters theses at MIT, in Media Arts and Sciences and Comparative Media Studies and Writing.