News on Regulation and Policy

 Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced broad new limitations on federal prosecutors’ use of compulsory legal process—including subpoenas, warrants, and court orders—to obtain journalists’ records. This change in policy, spurred by revelations that the Justice Department had sought phone and email records of New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN reporters in the waning days of the Trump […]

As the drummer of the Indonesian punk band Superman Is Dead, I Gede Ari Astina, better known as Jerinx, always relished making headlines for rebellious acts. His most recent, and most controversial: becoming one of Indonesia’s leading anti-vaxxers. “Those who don’t believe that this covid is just a business scheme may still believe that America […]

Despite assurances from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Australia was at “the front of the queue” for COVID-19 vaccines, Australia’s rate of vaccination ranks last in the OECD. Nevertheless, Australia is still ahead of scores of other nations when it comes to vaccination rates, with many countries in the developing world unlikely to be able […]

Yesterday, the US Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to announce that its frontline medical workers will be required to get vaccinated against Covid-19, while New York City and California also announced plans for vaccine mandates. California’s requirement, like the VA’s, applies to health workers; New York’s will apply to around 350,000 city workers, including police […]

Extremism Online In this essay series from Items, the SSRC’s digital forum, researchers examine how right-wing extremism ideologies multiply through digital spaces rising in popularity in the West. In order to effectively confront right-wing extremism, we must first understand how it operates in a world in which communication increasingly happens online, and in which the […]

Rumours and falsehoods on social media spread faster than the truth. A recent study conducted in the United States found evidence that polarising political content (such as left vs right) is particularly likely to go viral. And there can be real world consequences of misinformation. Another study conducted in Germany has demonstrated that anti-refugee sentiment […]

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We examine potential bias in Facebook’s 10-trillion cell URLs dataset, consisting of URLs shared on its platform and their engagement metrics. Despite the unprecedented size of the dataset, it was altered to protect user privacy in two ways: 1) by adding differentially private noise to engagement counts, and 2) by censoring the data with a […]

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – at least, according to philosopher George Santayana. Most of us simply shorten that to say that history repeats itself. But is it true when it comes to healthcare? A look at Native American history suggests it is. During the 1918 flu pandemic, the […]

The weirdest harassment campaign Ash Parrish ever faced came after she wrote a cheeky, semi-facetious story for Kotaku about why the new Xbox Series X creeped her out. Microsoft’s flagship machine is equipped with an exhaust port consisting of dozens of circular holes. Parrish has trypophobia, which is defined as “an aversion to the sight […]

In December 2020, a Bellingcat investigation into the apparent attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny revealed the identities of Kremlin secret service agents who are believed to have stalked the Russian opposition leader for years, before he was poisoned with the powerful nerve agent Novichok. The Netherlands-based news organization’s reporting stood out not only because of […]

The fourth annual Politics and Computational Social Science (PaCSS) conference will take place virtually August 9 – 13 between 11 am – 3 pm EDT. Register now at The registration fee of $20 will help us cover conference expenses. We are dedicated to keeping this conference open and accessible and we ask that you […]

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