How Online Trolls Influence Elections

How Online Trolls Influence Elections How Online Trolls Influence Elections

January 13, 20212 min read
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Cody Buntain is a troll hunter. The assistant professor at NJIT scours social media platforms like Twitter to identify trolls and examine how the misinformation that they post influences others. He goes even further, however, to examine how that influence impacts the outcome of elections. It’s all about online manipulation.


Buntain, who holds a Ph.D. in computer science, conducts his research independently and in conjunction with the Center for Social Media and Politics at New York University. As he puts it,


“I study social media, how people engage politically online — especially during disasters and times of social unrest — and how coordinating actors behave and information flows across multiple platforms.”


As a media source, he speaks cogently and compellingly about election misinformation, online political engagement, social media, information ecosystems, text mining, machine learning and the quality of information and interaction online.


Buntain, who works in the Department of Informatics at NJIT’s Ying Wu College of Computing, co-authored a 2020 study on tracking foreign misinformation campaigns that NBC New York featured in its I-Team election story, “Meet the Troll Hunters,” seen here:



Buntain also applies his knowledge of online manipulation in disaster responses. For example, he’s studying how misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic on Twitter influenced the actions of countries like Brazil, Italy and the United Kingdom, which you can read about here.


Finally, Buntain is more than an academic. He also has worked as a research engineer and director of research at Pikewerks — a developer of computer security software — and as a research scientist at Raytheon Pikewerks.


To arrange an interview with him, simply click on his icon.



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  • Cody Buntain
    Cody Buntain Assistant Professor

    Research interests intersect with data science and social science, have key applications in crisis informatics and political engagement

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