IDDP: Understanding Digital Media Influence on our Democracy

IDDP: Understanding Digital Media Influence on our Democracy

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.



Policymakers call out social media platform’s ‘misinformation negligence’ as we approach election amid pandemic

Forum on Harm of Social Media Disinformation


Abrams, Schiff, Ressa participated in forum on social media threats to election integrity

As the 2020 election approaches, nothing is a bigger threat to our democracy than the prospect of illicit interference compromising the vote.  Foreign and domestic election interference, disinformation, and voter suppression efforts proliferate on social media, and the platforms have utterly failed to address the threat. 

IDDP’s second international forum on social media disinformation, held on June 29, 2020, focused on the negative consequences of digital platforms’ misinformation negligence for free and fair elections.

This forum featured U.S. and international lawmakers and leaders at the forefront of protecting the vote and democratic integrity.  Witnesses fighting for ballot access and press freedom – and against racial disenfranchisement – outlined the gravity of the threat and where we go from here.

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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


Cornell University logo

The COVID-19 Social Media Infodemic Reflects Uncertainty and State-Sponsored Propaganda

Significant attention has been devoted to determining the credibility of online misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic on social media. Here, researchers compare the credibility of tweets about COVID-19 to datasets pertaining to other health issues.
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Iterative Effect-Size Bias in Ridehailing: Measuring Social Bias in Dynamic Pricing of 100 Million Rides

Algorithmic bias is the systematic preferential or discriminatory treatment of a group of people by an artificial intelligence system. In this work, researchers developed a random-effects based metric for the analysis of social bias in supervised machine learning prediction models where model outputs depend on U.S. locations. They defined a methodology for using U.S. Census data to measure social bias on user attributes legally protected against discrimination, such as ethnicity, sex, and religion, also known as protected attributes.
Cornell University logo

Content analysis of Persian/Farsi Tweets during COVID-19 pandemic in Iran using NLP

Iran, along with China, South Korea, and Italy was among the countries that were hit hard in the first wave of the COVID-19 spread. Twitter is one of the widely-used online platforms by Iranians inside and abroad for sharing their opinion, thoughts, and feelings about a wide range of issues. In this study, using more than 530,000 original tweets in Persian/Farsi on COVID-19, we analyzed the topics discussed among users, who are mainly Iranians, to gauge and track the response to the pandemic and how it evolved over time.

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Who Exactly Is You? Large-Scale Descriptive Analysis of Politics on YouTube

Friday, July 24, 2020 - 1:00pm
As the United States approaches the 2020 US elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more political communication than ever is taking shape on social media. Yet to date, our understanding of political content on YouTube has remained relatively limited.
Forum on Social Media Election Disinformation

Policymakers call out social media platform’s ‘misinformation negligence’ as we approach election amid pandemic

Monday, June 29, 2020 - 10:00am

IDDP’s second international forum on social media disinformation, held on June 29, 2020, focused on the negative consequences of digital platforms’ misinformation negligence for free an


Arbiters of Truth: Platform Content Policies and the U.S. Elections

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 12:00pm
As the United States speeds toward the 2020 election—in the middle of a health crisis, national reckoning with social injustice, and an infodemic—how are social media platforms addressing concerns about disinformation and manipulative political advertising?
Forum on the Harms of COVID-19 Social Media Disinformation

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urges online advertisers to use their “tremendous leverage” in the fight against life-threatening medical disinformation at IDDP-hosted event

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 10:00am
At an international forum hosted by IDDP in cooperation with the International Grand Committee on Disinformation, Speaker Pelosi, along with European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová and other top lawmakers, criticized social media companies for profiting from the user engagement generated by false and misleading content on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Future of Fact Checking: Research and Practice

Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 12:00pm
In an era in which political misinformation has become ubiquitous, fact-checking has emerged as one possible solution. But is it working? And what challenges does it face?
Presidential Communication in Times of Crisis

Presidential Communication in Times of Crisis

Monday, April 27, 2020 - 1:00pm
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories regarding the origin, scale, prevention and treatment of the disease. This panel discusses how presidential administrations communicate with the public in times of uncertainty and crisis. Former White House Press Secretaries Ari Fleischer and Joe Lockhart provide perspectives from previous administrations. Politifact Editor-in-Chief Angie Holan and IDDP researcher Ethan Porter help us understand the importance of fact-checking false claims coming from presidents and other authority figures.
BuzzFeed editor Craig Silverman

Is Russia Renting Your Aunt’s Facebook Profile?

Monday, February 24, 2020 - 3:00pm
The infrastructure of online media—complex, poorly regulated and constantly evolving—is ripe for exploitation as the United States approaches its 2020 presidential election, journalist Craig Silverman warned Tuesday at the George Washington University.
Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics Hosts Panel on Digital Discourse

Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics Hosts Panel on Digital Discourse

Sunday, September 22, 2019 - 12:00pm
Technology experts hosted by the George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP) said at a panel Sunday that digital behavior has transformative real-world effects requiring careful interdisciplinary study.
James Clapper

President Trump Shows ‘Aggressive Indifference’ to Russian Threat

Monday, April 2, 2018 - 8:00am
The intelligence community concluded that Russia used social media during the 2016 presidential election to sow discord and inflame political tensions. It was the most aggressive assault on the United States political system to date, Mr. Clapper said at George Washington University.

iddp in the news

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‘It’s like you injected adrenaline into them’: Facebook’s vaccine misinformation problem faces a new test with Covid-19

As scientists begin to clear a path to a potential coronavirus vaccine, researchers and advocates are increasingly sounding the alarm over what they see as a looming threat: Facebook’s apparent inability to police dangerous falsehoods about vaccines.
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Was your Uber, Lyft fare high because of algorithm bias?

Requesting an Uber or Lyft to a lower-income community? That could cost you – in fact, the algorithms they use may be biased against you, or at least your travel plans. This is according to a study by George Washington University published last month.