Last updated January 7, 2020
CAT Lab is dedicated to producing scientifically-rigorous, trustworthy research. CAT Lab does not take money from any for-profit corporations in the technology industry, nor do we take money from any platform on which we study behavior. This includes any offers of travel, accommodation, or other perks.
One part of our upcoming conflict of interest policy will be for team members to disclose current relationships with studied entities or technology companies and to recuse ourselves from any decisions related to those entities. We will also disclose any previous relationships with those entities.
In the meantime, we are publishing a personal statement on conflicts of interest from our founder, J. Nathan Matias.
Current Relationships with Technology Platform Companies
In his research capacity at MIT, Nathan is conducting an intellectually and financially-independent evaluation of some of Twitter’s harassment prevention policies. Nathan and his collaborators currently have legal agreements with Twitter that protect their intellectual independence and also protect the privacy of people who appear in the data that the research team is studying. Because this legal agreement is structured to protect Nathan’s intellectual independence, and because Nathan has not accepted any funding, compensation, or gifts from Twitter during this project, he is continuing to participate in CAT Lab decisions related to Twitter research.
Good & Upworthy
In his research capacity at Cornell, Nathan signed a data-sharing agreement with Good Worldwide Inc in August 2019. This agreement grants Nathan complete freedom to study and publish a dataset of tens of thousands of A/B tests conducted by Upworthy from 2013 into 2015. Nathan has not accepted any funding, compensation, or gifts from Good Worldwide Inc.
Prior Relationships with Technology Platform Companies
Microsoft research is an intellectually-independent research unit within Microsoft that produces academic knowledge. Nathan was a student intern at Microsoft Research in the summer of 2013 in the Future of Social Expression Lab. He was a PhD intern in the Microsoft Research Social Media Collective in the summer of 2015. Nathan has no current relationship with Microsoft Research.
In 2010-2011, Nathan was Language Development Liaison at SwiftKey, a company that produced predictive text keyboard software for mobile phones. SwiftKey was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. Nathan has no current relationship with SwiftKey.
In 2008-2010, Nathan was a software and performance testing engineer at Texperts, a mobile search and digital labor platform. Texperts was acquired by the Knowledge Generation Bureau. The service no longer exists, and Nathan has no current relationship with either firm.