Social Media Governance
Technology and Social Change
Digital Public Infrastructure
Online Community Governance
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.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Work towards MFA, Electronic Arts
Williams College: B.A., Philosophy
Select Media Coverage (12)
Threads Is Rolling Out on the Web. That Just Might Save It
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.
After a Year of Focus on Big Tech's Harms, Why We're Still Waiting on Reform
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
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.
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.
Reimaging the Future of Digital Public Spaces
Ethan Zuckerman is a panelist on a nationally syndicated radio show discussing a reimagined future for digital public spaces.
It’s the Billionaires’ Internet, and We’re Just Posting on It
Ethan Zuckerman is quoted in several articles about Elon Musk’s preliminary agreement to purchase Twitter are quoted in several articles.
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.
How Addictive Social Media Algorithms Could Finally Face a Reckoning in 2022
Ethan Zuckerman comments in an article asking if addictive social media algorithms could face a reckoning in 2022.
Twitch Isn't Overwhelmed With Far-Right Extremists, But It Does Have A Big Misinformation Problem
Ethan Zuckerman comments about how Twitch has now joined older social media platforms in beginning to combat misinformation.
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."
To Thrive, Our Democracy Needs Digital Public Infrastructure
"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.”
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."
Select Publications (6)
What happens when AI trains itself?Prospect
"Artificial intelligence will soon run out of human sentences to learn from. What are its options then? "
War as a mediated catastropheProspect
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.
How Has Misinformation Evolved Over The Past Ten Years?Forbes
Zuckerman writes about how misinformation has changed over the last decade. He says, "
Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them (Book)W. W. Norton & Company
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."
The real lesson of Trump's social media silencingCNN
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."
Digital Cosmopolitansz; Why We Think the Internet Connects Us, Why It Doesn't, and How to Rewire It (Book)W. W. Norton & Company
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.