Renowned censorship researcher and data science expert Prof. Margaret Roberts collaborates with the Technical University of Munich and the University of Konstanz in order to analyse the opaque moderation procedures of social media platforms. Central focus are the challenges of fake news and hate messages as well as the protection of the freedom of expression. This topic is of enormous importance to our democracies and the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award 2022 prize money of 1.5 million euros will help the political scientist, who teaches at the University of California, San Diego, to further advance research in this area.
Political scientist Nils Weidmann is collaborating partner in Konstanz
Margaret Roberts is forming a joint research group with Nils Weidmann, Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz, and Yannis Theocharis, Professor of Digital Governance at the Technical University of Munich. The project is initially designed for five years. The award ceremony will take place on 3 November 2022 in Berlin.
The award winner said: "Content moderation is ubiquitous on social media platforms, which dictate what content is and is not allowed on their platforms. The way that content is moderated, however, is often quite opaque and users are often confused about what content is taken down and why."
In her previous, highly-regarded research, the political scientist has uncovered how the Chinese state uses information technologies for censorship. Together with her German research partners, she now wants to apply her innovative analytical tools to social media groups and analyse their behaviours. The aim is to educate the public about the mechanisms of content control and increase awareness of developments that are potentially harmful to society.
About Margaret Roberts
Margaret Roberts studied international relations and economics at Stanford University, where she also completed a master's degree in statistics. In 2014, she received her PhD in Government from Harvard University under Gary King, a world-leading specialist in quantitative methods. Margaret Roberts is currently Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at the University of California, San Diego. She is also co-director of the China Data Lab at the 21st Century China Center.
About the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award
The research award, endowed with 1.5 million euros, is conferred annually by the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It honours researchers working abroad whose work is characterised by outstanding future potential. The prize money serves to enable innovative and high-risk research and to develop new research formats. The target group alternates annually between the fields of natural and engineering sciences, life sciences, and humanities and social sciences.
- Max Planck Humboldt Research Award 2022 for Prof. Margaret Roberts, collaboration partner of the University of Konstanz
- The project analyses the behaviour of social media platforms, in particular with regards to disinformation and hate messages and the protection of freedom of expression
- Project partnership of the professor in the Department of Political Science and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at the University of California together with the University of Konstanz and the Technical University of Munich
- The award is endowed with around 1.5 million euros
- The award ceremony will take place on 3 November 2022 in Berlin