Social Media, Democracy, and Elections

Michael L. Best, Georgia Tech – Shenzhen

I have been exploring the role of mobile communication and social media in democratic development and elections. In particular, I have studied the use of Twitter, Facebook, and other digital platforms in multiple African elections over multiple electoral cycles. My lab has developed a cross-media tracking platform, named Aggie, and a Social Elections Monitoring process. This overall system supports near real-time monitoring, evaluation, and response to electoral challenges. In this talk, I will overview this platform and process and also describe the results of social media data analysis on policy and identity-driven political discourses within developing African democracies. Finally, I will explore the increasing role of online disinformation and dangerous speech and how this is influencing elections globally.



About the speaker

Dr. Michael L. Best is Associate Professor with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing and co-directs the Center for Computing and Society. He is Research Director, Georgia Tech – Shenzhen. Best received his Ph.D. and MS from MIT and BS from UCLA. He joined Georgia Tech in 2003.  Best's researches information and communication technologies and global development. His focus includes computing in post-conflict settings and peacekeeping, and the role of social media in elections and democratic deepening. He is also active in areas of AI ethics and digital gender equality. His inter-disciplinary approach combines social science research, policy development, and computing system design. Dr. Best was founding director of the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau SAR, China. He is Global Computing Editor of Communications of the ACM and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the journal Information Technologies and International Development.



Venue: Room 2.22

Date: 19 June 2019

Time: 14:00 - 15:00


UNU-MERIT