Social & Education Policy

Summer Scholars Ekdale and Nithyanand Examine Online Radicalization

Composite photo of Ekdale and Nithyanand

The Public Policy center welcomes another of its summer scholars-in-residence teams, Brian Ekdale (associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication), and Rishab Nithyanand (assistant professor in Computer Science) to work on their “Measuring and Mitigating the Impact of Platform Algorithms and Policies on Online Radicalization” study, June 1 through June 26. 

Their project will examine how internal policies and proprietary algorithms employed by online platforms have been exploited for the purpose of sowing dissent, injecting instability into our social structures, and facilitating new recruiting pipelines for extremist and violent communities. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to develop scalable methodologies to measure and mitigate the impact of platform algorithms and policies on the online radicalization process and to use empirical evidence to suggest policies that governing bodies can adopt to guide and regulate the practices of social platforms.

Their overall objective is to understand how current regulations, internal policies, and algorithm deployments facilitate the promotion and adoption of extremist ideologies and develop interventions to mitigate their impact. They aim to develop a proposal for submission to the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Human Systems program, and they will present a lunch and learn in the fall. You can read their full proposal here.

This project is supported by the PPC. For more information about the PPC Summer Scholars-in-Residence program, click here.