The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Rishab Nithyandand - Online Political Discourse in the Trump Era

CSSI Seminar
Friday, December 8, 2017 - 12:00am
Computer Science Building, Room 150/151

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. (lunch served at 12:15)

Rishab Nithyanand - Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow, Data & Society, New York
Collaboration with CSSI Affiliates Brian Schaffner (Political Science) and Philippa Gill (Computer Science)


Abstract: We identify general trends in the (in)civility and complexity of political discussions occurring on Reddit between January 2007 and May 2017 – a period spanning both terms of Barack Obama’s presidency and the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency. We then investigate four factors that are frequently hypothesized as having contributed to the declining quality of American political discourse – (1) the rising popularity of Donald Trump, (2) increasing polarization and negative partisanship, (3) the democratization of news media and the rise of fake news, and (4) merging of fringe groups into mainstream political discussions.


Bio: Rishab is currently a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow at Data & Society in New York. His research interests are in the areas of security, privacy, and Internet measurement. More specifically, he likes research geared towards defending anonymity, understanding Internet censorship, measuring aspects of the advertising and tracking ecosystem, and generally understanding the impact of the Internet on the sociopolitical realities of today.