Twitter to ban all political advertising, raising pressure on Facebook

The Guardian • October 30, 2019

Speaking with The Guardian, CAT Lab director J. Nathan Matias commenting on Twitter’s decision to ban political ads:

“It’s very hard to define ‘political’ things from non-political discourse….If their policies are too loose or their enforcement too clumsy, Twitter could do real damage to public health, the uptake of government services and civic life.” – J. Nathan Matias, CAT Lab director

Human relationships are the all-purpose tool for sustainable development

The World Economic Forum • September 16, 2019

The World Economic Forum featured our research in an article about researchers who are testing interventions to strengthen human relationships, online and off.

A Simple Way to Reduce Harassment in Online Discussion Groups

Pacific Standard • May 10, 2019

Pacific Standard featured CAT Lab’s reddit research in an article about online harassment. “The Internet is often described as a lawless space that can encourage people to indulge in their worst instincts,” writes author Tom Jacobs. “Still, many websites do have guidelines, and this study suggests that simply making them clear and obvious can help foster a more civil discussion—and encourage more people to take part.”

Reducing Harassment Online

The Naked Scientists podcast • May 15, 2019

For this podcast about online harassment, Ben McAllister interviewed CAT Lab director J. Nathan Matias, who described our recent studies on reddit.

“People often think about moderation as a reactive behavior, something you do after you spot something wrong….In this case, we were testing preventive ideas, the idea that by making behavioral norms more clear, we might actually prevent some of the problems that moderators might otherwise have to clean up later.”

– J. Nathan Matias, CAT Lab director

Twitter will start showing users its rules to encourage better behavior

The Verge • April 6, 2018

This article highlights an ongoing research partnership between CAT Lab, the Dangerous Speech project and Twitter.

How activists of color lose battles against Facebook’s moderator army

Reveal • August 17, 2017

CAT Lab director J. Nathan Matias spoke with Reveal, a media project of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

“I don’t think anyone knows how to run a business that can govern the lives of billions of people around the world while also making money….We’re asking companies to observe the intimate personal interactions of billions of people and then make wise interventions. That’s an incredibly difficult challenge to take on.” 

– J. Nathan Matias, CAT Lab director

Reddit’s /r/worldnews community used a series of nudges to push users to fact-check suspicious news

NiemanLab • February 2, 2017

This Nieman Lab article highlights CAT Lab research on disinformation. “Our results here showed that many of the issues we care about, such as the spread of fake news, are shaped by a combination of human and algorithmic factors, and that we can influence algorithms by persuading people to shift their behavior, even if we don’t control those algorithmic systems.” – J. Nathan Matias, CAT Lab director

Should We Feed the Trolls?

The Atlantic • April 18, 2016

“When we think about problems of harassment or conflict, the overwhelming way we think is to consider ways to deal with that specific conflict, that specific troll and that specific person—and that often leads us to think about reactive responses, things that we can do after we spot something happening….But if we recognize that these problems are at least sometimes rooted in deeper social and cultural issues, there’s a huge scope for working on these problems at the deeper roots.” – J. Nathan Matias, CAT Lab director

Reddit’s Future Is the Future of the Internet

WIRED • July 17, 2015

“These problems go deeper–they’re rooted in the wider problems of racism, sexism and hate that we have in our society….And the idea that we could make systems by design that prevents us from being the society we are when we interact online seems hopelessly utopian.” – J. Nathan Matias, CAT Lab director