How can we build a trustworthy Internet that serves the common good, based on high quality scientific knowledge? Since 2017, the Citizens and Technology Lab has been exploring this question together with communities, activists, and scholars.

We’re happy to share that this year we were able to expand our work significantly thanks to generous donors and partners. Your support of our mission to work alongside the public through industry-independent citizen science to test the social impacts of digital technologies and discover effective ideas for change gets us closer to our vision, to advance a world where digital power is guided by evidence and accountable to the public.

We are thankful to our supporters and are grateful to be able to celebrate this news with you as part of our commitment to transparency. If you’d like to donate and become a supporter of CAT Lab, please join us here.

In 2022, CAT Lab has received multiple grants and contracts to support our work for a safer, fairer, more understanding internet. Our donors include:

  • $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to grow the research and engineering efforts of the Citizens and Technology Lab.
  • Core support from the Ford Foundation for CAT Lab operations, $250,000 over two years. 
  • A contract of $75,270 to study ethics in industry-independent research on tech and society, commissioned by the NetGain Partnership, a philanthropic partnership seeking to advance the public interest in the digital age.
  • A shared award from the Ford Foundation to collaborate with several research centers for work on the Public Technology Leadership Collaborative, a new-peer learning collective of scholars, researchers, and government leaders committed to addressing the social and cultural implications of data and technology.

CAT Lab is a non-partisan, industry-independent research organization. Our findings have directly influenced large-scale harm reduction online, broadened participation in democratic discourse, contributed to policy debates on freedom of expression in multiple countries, and advanced basic science of human behavior online. We are also changing how science works by publishing open source software and open datasets on methods and ethics of large-scale, high-volume behavioral research: click here to learn more.

For an idea of the kind of research we hope to carry out alongside communities, take a look at the reports we co-created with community partners:

CAT Lab founder J. Nathan Matias is currently a 2022-2023 fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, as a Lenore Annenberg and Wallis Annenberg Fellow in Communication and Siegel Research Fellow. Thank you to the following funders:

People and communities make our work possible. Members of the public who care about their communities represent a powerful alternative to governance by corporations. Hundreds of thousands of people already volunteer to monitor, intervene, and support our digital lives as bystanders, peers, and moderators. These communities ask CAT Lab to help them discover effective ways to create social change online and hold companies accountable. These discoveries also make long-term contributions to society by advancing our fundamental understanding in computer science and the social sciences.

Many thanks again to all of our supporters, and thank you to the communities, individuals, and researchers who partner with us. We couldn’t do this work without you, and we are so glad to see it grow.

Image source: Beebe Lake Waterfall at the Cornell Gorges, contributed to Wikimedia Commons by Noitazilivic