The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) is a neutral and independent third party whose mission it is to track, expose, and combat misinformation, deception, manipulation, and hate across social media channels.
Acting as a public benefit corporation, NCRI is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to explore safe ways to audit, reveal challenges, devise solutions, and create transparency in partnerships with social media platforms, public safety organizations, and government agencies.
Since NCRI has no political agenda, profit motive, or university reporting obligations, the Institute is well positioned to manage confidentiality in sensitive relationships. NCRI seeks to innovate exacting internal standards of objectivity, data security, and strict legal compliance. NCRI bears strong incentives to develop the highest level of trust and confidentiality – while working hard to protect the clinical alliances with our partners – since the viability of our model, our reputation, and our mission is at stake in that trust.
Joel Finkelstein, Cofounder, Director
Joel Finkelstein is the co-founder and director of the Network Contagion Research Institute. A visiting fellow at the James Madison Program at Princeton University, Joel also holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton, where his award-winning doctoral work focused on the psychology and neuroscience of addiction and social behavior. Joel is an active and well-known strategic resource to media outlets, policy makers, advocacy groups, as well as investigators to help turn tools for social science into tools for social justice. His work on hate and deceit in social media has appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR and other media outlets.
Jeremy Blackburn, Cofounder, Scientific Advisor
Jeremy Blackburn is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at UAB. He studies anti-social actors on the Internet and has received media coverage in Nature, The Atlantic, BBC, Vice, New Scientist, and MIT Technology Review, among others. Measuring and understanding bad behavior on the world’s largest distributed system, the World Wide Web. His research has ranged from studying how cheating behavior spreads like a disease through a global network of online video game players, to understanding and predicting toxic behavior in the world’s most popular multiplayer video games, and more recently, understanding online hate speech, harassment campaigns, and the influence of fringe Web communities through the lens of fake news.
Barry Bradlyn, Cofounder, Scientific Advisor
Barry Bradlyn received a BS in Physics from MIT in 2009. He co-founded LeafLabs LLC, a company which leveraged advances in embedded computing and artificial intelligence into scientific hardware design. Barry conducted his graduate research at Yale University, where he received his Ph.D. in Physics in 2015. After serving as the Sam B. Treiman research fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, he now serves as Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Savvas Zannettou Ph.D, NCRI Fellow
Savvas has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cyprus University of Technology, where in 2014 and 2016 he received his BS and MS degrees, respectively, in Computer Engineering. During that time, Savvas spent six months as a Research Intern at NEC Labs Europe where he worked on Software-Defined Networks. Over the course of 2017 and 2018, he spent 12 months as a Research Intern at Telefonica Research. Savvas’ most recent research applies machine learning and data-driven quantitative analysis to understand emerging phenomena on the Web such as the spread of false information and hateful rhetoric.
Michael Greenstone, Cofounder, Technical Director
Until recently, NCRI’s Director of technology was a seasoned technical leader for one of the largest companies in Silicon Valley.
You first need to understand intolerance in order to develop cures for it. This project is designed to do that—researching how hate grows and spreads by applying science rather than anecdotes and politics.
The diverse collection of supporters may disagree on the ways to address intolerance but all are committed to finding solutions and having those solutions rooted in science.