hero image
Ethan Zuckerman - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Ethan Zuckerman

Associate Professor of Public Policy, Communication and Information | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Ethan Zuckerman's work focuses on building alternatives to the commercial internet.

Expertise (5)

Social Media Governance

Technology and Social Change

Digital Public Infrastructure

Online Community Governance

Social Media


An international expert on designing and advocating for versions of social media are designed to have positive social and civic impacts, Ethan Zuckerman is frequently sought out to discuss idea for moving beyond existing models of funding and governance in social media and on the internet.

Social Media






Education (2)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Work towards MFA, Electronic Arts

Williams College: B.A., Philosophy

Select Media Coverage (14)

AI in Education: A Professor's Guide to Teaching in the Age of ChatGPT

Cryptopolitan  online


An article focusing on UMass Amherst professor Ethan Zuckerman addresses how higher education faculty are dealing with the advent of AI, like ChatGPT.

view more

Threads Is Rolling Out on the Web. That Just Might Save It

WIRED  online


Ethan Zuckerman comments on the rollout of the web version of Threads, the text-based social media platform marketed as an alternative to X, formerly known as Twitter. “I joined Threads within 48 hours of it opening up, like everybody else, but I haven’t really used it, and the reason is that I access most of my social media on my laptop,” Zuckerman says, adding that mobile-only platforms are more difficult for scholars to research.

view more

After a Year of Focus on Big Tech's Harms, Why We're Still Waiting on Reform

TIME  online


Instead, the biggest changes since last year may be in the minds of consumers, who now are more skeptical than ever of Big Tech. “We’ve had what people are now calling a ‘techlash’ against this idea that social media is always a good thing and is part of the world getting better and better,” says Ethan Zuckerman

view more

A Frustrating Hassle Holding Electric Cars Back: Broken Chargers

The New York Times  online


“Often, those fast chargers have real maintenance issues,” said Ethan Zuckerman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has owned a Chevrolet Bolt for several years. “When they do, you very quickly find yourself in pretty dire straits.” In the winter of 2020, Mr. Zuckerman was commuting about 150 miles each way to a job at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The cold winter weather can reduce the driving range of electric cars, and Mr. Zuckerman found himself needing a charge on the way home.

Media Appearance Image

view more

Is Twitter toppling? Can Threads sew salvation?

Connecticut Public Radio  radio


Ethan Zuckerman joins a podcast discussion on the rise of the new social media app Threads and its position as a competitor to Twitter.

view more

Ruling could dampen government efforts to rein in Big Tech

AP News  online


Ethan Zuckerman comments in an article about how a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on climate change could dampen efforts to reign in the tech industry.

view more

Reimaging the Future of Digital Public Spaces

KQED  radio


Ethan Zuckerman is a panelist on a nationally syndicated radio show discussing a reimagined future for digital public spaces.


view more

It’s the Billionaires’ Internet, and We’re Just Posting on It

Vice  online


Ethan Zuckerman is quoted in several articles about Elon Musk’s preliminary agreement to purchase Twitter are quoted in several articles.

view more

Telegram Thrives Amid Russia’s Media Crackdown

The Wall Street Journal  print


Ethan Zuckerman comments about the rise of social media platform Telegram as a result of Russia’s media crackdown following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

view more

How Addictive Social Media Algorithms Could Finally Face a Reckoning in 2022

TIME Magazine  


Ethan Zuckerman comments in an article asking if addictive social media algorithms could face a reckoning in 2022.

view more

Twitch Isn't Overwhelmed With Far-Right Extremists, But It Does Have A Big Misinformation Problem

Kotaku  online


Ethan Zuckerman comments about how Twitch has now joined older social media platforms in beginning to combat misinformation.

Media Appearance Image

view more

Misinformation Is Destroying Our Country. Can Anything Rein It In?

The Nation  print


Zuckerman comments about possible ways to rein in online misinformation. He says, “The Nazis right now have an incentive to build alternative distributed media, and the rest of us are behind because we don’t have the incentive to do it. My real deep fear is that we end up ceding the design of this way of building social networks to far-right extremists, because they are the ones who need these new spaces to discuss and organize."

Media Appearance Image

view more

To Thrive, Our Democracy Needs Digital Public Infrastructure

Politico  online


"This is why a growing group of scholars and technologists have started looking at new ways of supporting flourishing online public life by focusing on parks and libraries for the internet — what scholar Ethan Zuckerman calls “digital public infrastructure.”

cell phone screen

view more

Fragmented and humbled: How social media could emerge from the post-election crisis

The Boston Globe  print


"The events of the past few weeks “could be an ugly path that might get us toward a very different media environment,” said Ethan Zuckerman, a University of Massachusetts Amherst professor who has been working on ways to better orient social media toward civic conversation and public benefit."

social media icons

view more

Select Publications (7)

Let the community work it out: Throwback to early internet days could fix social media’s crisis of legitimacy

The Conversation

Ethan Zuckerman and Chand Rajendra-Nicolucci


Ethan Zuckerman and Chand Rajendra-Nicolucci argue that a return to the early days of the internet where the community, rather than social media companies, oversaw online content, could solve social media’s current “crisis of legitimacy.” They write, “Why should a few companies – or a few billionaire owners – have the power to decide everything about online spaces that billions of people use? This unaccountable model of governance has led stakeholders of all stripes to criticize platforms’ decisions as arbitrary, corrupt or irresponsible.”

view more

What happens when AI trains itself?


Ethan Zuckerman


"Artificial intelligence will soon run out of human sentences to learn from. What are its options then? "

view more

War as a mediated catastrophe


Ethan Zuckerman


Ethan Zuckerman examines the media dynamics of Russia’s war on Ukraine and the marked differences in how Putin and Zelensky use media and social media to frame their own narratives.

view more

How Has Misinformation Evolved Over The Past Ten Years?


Ethan Zuckerman


Zuckerman writes about how misinformation has changed over the last decade. He says, "

view more

Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them (Book)

W. W. Norton & Company

Ethan Zuckerman


Zuckerman says: "How can you change society if you lose faith in institutions like governments and corporations? Mistrust: How Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them (2021) looks at democracies like the US through the lens of mistrust in institutions, a massive social trend."

view more

The real lesson of Trump's social media silencing


Ethan Zuckerman


Ethan Zuckerman writes that social media companies removing Donald Trump from their platforms "reflect a major shift in how large social media platforms handle extreme speech. They have long tolerated right-wing extremists and were particularly hands-off with Trump, concluding that his tweets and posts -- for all his flagrant lying and bullying -- were important dispatches from a world leader, and had to stay up for everyone in our democracy to see."

view more

Digital Cosmopolitansz; Why We Think the Internet Connects Us, Why It Doesn't, and How to Rewire It

Book: W. W. Norton & Company

Ethan Zuckerman


In Digital Cosmopolitans, Ethan Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not guarantee human interaction or the healthy exchange of information and ideas.

view more