Social Media

What big data reveals about online extremism

Homa Hosseinmardi and her colleagues at Penn’s Computational Social Science Lab studied browsing data from 300,000 Americans to gain insights into how online radicalization occurs, and to help develop solutions.

From Annenberg School for Communication

TikTok talk

Largely characterized as a Gen Z phenomenon, TikTok is a video-sharing app with more than 100 million active users in the U.S. alone—and it’s changing the way that we speak, says sociolinguist Nicole Holliday.

Kristina García

Study finds surprising source of social influence

A new study co-authored by ASC’s Damon Centola finds that as prominent and revered as social influencers seem to be, they are unlikely to change a person’s behavior by example, and might actually be detrimental to the cause.

From Annenberg School for Communication

In the News

USA Today

Twitter accounts tied to China lied that COVID came from Maine lobsters

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center said public health disinformation from China-based social media accounts is nothing new. "Early in the pandemic, Chinese sources spread the theory that SARS CoV-2 originated at Fort Detrick and was spread to China by U.S. military," she said. "The platforms can remove it, or if they decide against doing so, can downgrade it or flag it and attach fact-checking content."


The Washington Post

Facebook is like chairs. No, telephones. No, cars. No …

Zachary Loeb, a doctoral candidate in the School of Arts & Sciences, spoke about Facebook’s attempts to compare the platform to simpler, less threatening technologies. “There used to be this utopian aura where they had been trying to act as though they were the latest in the stream of these transformative [communication] technologies,” he said.


WHYY (Philadelphia)

Facebook calls links to depression inconclusive. These researchers disagree

Melissa Hunt of the School of Arts & Sciences questioned Facebook’s argument that the poor mental health outcomes tied to use of their platform can be mitigated with self-discipline. “All of the things that would contribute to these platforms being healthier for people to use, which is basically spend less time, don't follow strangers, don't spend time passively scrolling through this random feed that's being suggested to you," Hunt says. "That completely undermines their whole business model."



Don’t buy into Facebook’s ad-tracking pressure on iOS 14.5

Ron Berman of the Wharton School spoke about how a new Apple feature that allows users to block apps from tracking their online activities might affect Facebook’s revenues. “There are some types of ads, mostly retargeting, that will be harder to display, since now Facebook wouldn’t know who visited an app, put an item in the shopping cart, etc.,” he said.


NBC News

She called out health care misinfo on TikTok. Then, the trolls found her

Jessa Lingel of the Annenberg School for Communication spoke about the history of callout culture on social media. “Cancel culture, callout culture, that really comes from practices on Black Twitter of bringing attention to an issue and saying, hey, this is a thing where we need to align. Whether it’s #MeToo in its early days, that originated on Black Twitter, or whether that’s tied to Black Lives Matter or police brutality. Callout culture originated on Black Twitter,” she said.


The New York Times

Dark under-eye circles? The kids say it’s cool

Kathy Peiss of the School of Arts & Sciences commented on a viral social media makeup trend that emphasizes dark under-eye circles. “This seems ephemeral, an aesthetic centered on pandemic tiredness, but not much more than that,” she said.