Our Mission


The Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP)’s mission is to help the public, journalists, and policymakers understand digital media’s influence on public dialogue and opinion, and to develop sound solutions to disinformation and other ills that arise in these spaces.




About Us

In the heart of the nation's capital, IDDP brings together top researchers from across academic disciplines, works side-by-side with and informs journalists from leading media outlets, advises and helps agenda set with policymakers in the U.S. and Europe, and engages with a variety of organizations that have significant societal influence and reach.

This work is of vital importance in an age when media manipulation, fake accounts, and malicious social media activities are undermining fundamental aspects of societal cohesion and democratic ideals. Abuse, harassment, hate speech, and disinformation abound, with foreign and domestic actors alike taking advantage of key features of digital platforms to target vulnerable and marginalized members of society.

About us

What We Do






Institute researchers produce timely publications about the threat to democracy posed by digital propaganda and deception and contribute to academic journals with new scholarships.



The Institute brings together a team of leading interdisciplinary researchers from around the world under one roof and organizes events on new disinformation research.



The institute collaborates with the Poynter Institute and its PolitiFact project to offer trainings on the misinformation landscape and how to correct false information with fact-checking journalism.


Research Cluster: Network Modeling

Network Modeling



Mapping the structure of digital networks and online group relationships.

Research Clusters: Investigations



Conducting research on specific cases of pernicious content to help produce high-impact news articles.


Taiwan’s Disinformation War
A webinar on combating disinformation from Taiwan’s 2020 election to the COVID-19 pandemic

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publications, events, news and media


Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review

State media warning labels can counteract the effects of foreign misinformation

Platforms are increasingly using transparency, whether it be in the form of political advertising disclosures or a record of page name changes, to combat disinformation campaigns. In the case of state-controlled media outlets on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter this has taken the form of labeling their connection to a state. We show that these labels have the ability to mitigate the effects of viewing election misinformation from the Russian media channel RT. However, this is only the case when the platform prominently places the label so as not to be missed by users.
Cornell University

A Multi-Modal Method for Satire Detection using Textual and Visual Cues

Satire is a form of humorous critique, but it is sometimes misinterpreted by readers as legitimate news, which can lead to harmful consequences. We observe that the images used in satirical news articles often contain absurd or ridiculous content and that image manipulation is used to create fictional scenarios. While previous work have studied text-based methods, in this work we propose a multi-modal approach based on state-of-the-art visiolinguistic model ViLBERT. To this end, researchers created a new dataset consisting of images and headlines of regular and satirical news for the task of satire detection. The researchers also fine-tune ViLBERT on the dataset and train a convolutional neural network that uses an image forensics technique. Evaluation on the dataset shows that our proposed multi-modal approach outperforms image-only, text-only, and simple fusion baselines.

Validating Social Media Monitoring: Statistical Pitfalls and Opportunities from Public Opinion

Social media are a promising new data source for real-world behavioral monitoring. Despite clear advantages, analyses of social media data face some challenges. In this paper, we seek to elucidate some of these challenges and draw relevant lessons from more traditional survey techniques. Beyond standard machine learning approaches, we make the case that studies that conduct statistical analyses of social media data should carefully consider elements of study design, providing behavioral examples throughout. Specifically, we focus on issues surrounding the validity of statistical conclusions that may be drawn from social media data. We discuss common pitfalls and techniques to avoid these pitfalls, so researchers may mitigate potential problems of design.

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Digital Citizenship In A Pandemic: Political Information And Action In 2020

Digital Citizenship In A Pandemic

Monday, October 19, 2020 - 10:00am
This virtual conference explored the questions about fact checking the presidential campaign, considered how communities of color are impacted by digital disinformation, talked about potential post election violence and examined how discourse about COVID-19 is reshaping American politics.
vaccine syringe

Can Communicating Gist Inform Responses to Foreign and Domestic Online Manipulation of the Vaccine Debate?

Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 1:00pm
What are the implications of online vaccine communication for political discourse?
Forum on Misogyny and Hate Speech on Social Media

Rep. Speier, other female lawmakers ask Zuckerberg to "do more" to empower women

Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 9:00am

The Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics hosted it's third and final International Forum on the Harms of Social Media Disinformation on August 6th. The forums have spann

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Vaccines Won't Stop the Pandemic Unless at Least 50 Million Skeptical Americans Change Their Minds

For all the flak that President Trump has taken over the federal government's response, or lack thereof, to the coronavirus pandemic, the government's vaccine development project, Operation Warp Speed, looks like a winner. According to Pfizer, its vaccine prevented COVID in 95 percent of participants in its clinical trials, which are now complete. Moderna's vaccine, which got $1 billion in U.S. government support, prevents 94 percent of cases, the company said.

Disinformation on Social Media Is Threat to Democracy, Rappler CEO Says

Maria Ressa says what she’s living through is Kafkaesque. The crusading Filipina journalist received a John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award on Wednesday from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the latest international recognition of her years-long fight to defend independent media in the Philippines against the authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte, who denounces her website Rappler as “fake news.”
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Classifying and Identifying the Intensity of Hate Speech

Hate speech does not operate in a vacuum, and its rise reflects changing political contexts. If we’re serious about fighting hate speech and its violent and destabilizing consequences, we need to identify its earliest manifestations. Babak Bahador offers a hate-speech intensity scale, a strategy that allows us to move beyond the binary approach that dominates current hate speech research. This concept can be operationalized to better identify and understand the evolutions of hate speech before it leads to real-world harms.