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   May 11-12, 2023 @ Cornell Tech

Understanding & Combating Online Manipulation: Setting an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda 

Manipulation, nudging, and dark patterns remain troubling watchwords in a pervasive new language of online power and influence. The practices fitting these labels pose complex problems for the conduct of social life. Strategic actors are exploiting new capacities to engineer environments and behaviors, taking advantage, for instance, of both intimate and massive data about persons and publics. Coming to terms with online manipulation requires all hands on deck. This workshop takes stock of the tools at our disposal and the values at stake as we confront the threat manipulation poses to fairness, dignity, autonomy, and democracy.

The workshop will feature 30-40 participants from across disciplines and regions, who approach manipulation from a variety of perspectives, bringing to the table a diverse range of vocabularies and methods—e.g., ethics/philosophy, law and policy, social science, and computing. Through these exchanges we can clarify commonalities and differences in how scholars conceptualize and understand manipulation, and spur new, integrative ideas about how to research, evaluate, and combat manipulative practices.

The schedule will be organized thematically, and the majority of our time will be spent in collaborative group discussion. We have designed the agenda to generate conversation more than to showcase individual research projects, including discussion about works-in-progress, syntheses of existing studies, and/or provocations. 


Agenda Overview

Thursday, May 11:1.00 - 6.00pm @ Cornell Tech (Bloomberg Room 161/165)

  • 1.00 - 1.15pm | Welcome

  • 1.15 - 2.45pm | Panel 1: Manipulation on the Ground [+]

  • 2.45 - 3.00pm | Break

  • 3.00 - 4.30pm | Panel 2: Politics of Online Manipulation [+]

  • 4.30 - 4.45pm | Break

  • 4.45 - 6.15pm | Panel 3: Conceptualizing Online Manipulation [+]

  • 6.45pm | Dinner @ Au Za'atar (1063 1st Ave, New York, NY 10022)

Friday, May 12:10.00am - 6.00pm @ Cornell Tech (Bloomberg Room161/165) 

  • 9.00 - 10.00am | Coffee

  • 10.00 - 11.30am | Panel 4: Ethics and Values in Online Manipulation [+]

  • 11.30 - 11.45am | Break

  • 11.45 - 1.15pm | Panel 5: Designing Against Manipulation [+]

  • 1.15 - 2.00pm | Lunch

  • 2.00 - 3.30pm Panel 6: Legal and Regulatory Horizons [+]

  • 3.30 - 3.45pm Break

  • 3.45 - 5.00pm Panel 7: Throughlines and Paths Forward [+]

  • 5.00 - 5.30pm | Wrap-up

Workshop Participants

Rediet Abebe (Harvard Society of Fellows)
Azadeh Akbari (Univ. of Twente)
Anne Barnhill (Johns Hopkins) 

Marcia Baron (Indiana University)

Elettra Bietti (Cornell Tech / NYU)

Michael Byrne (Cornell Tech)
Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius (Radboud Univ.)

Laura Brandimarte (Univ. of Arizona)

Madiha Z. Choksi (Cornell Tech)

Wendy Chun (Simon Fraser University)
Matthew Crain (Miami Uni)
Sylvie Delacroix (Univ. of Birmingham)
Brett Frischmann (Villanova Univ.

Jake Goldenfein (University of Melbourne)

Margot Hanley (Cornell Tech)
Natali Helberger (Univ. of Amsterdam)

Mihir Kshirsagar (Princeton University)

Ben Laufer (Cornell Tech)
Yafit Lev-Aretz (CUNY Baruch College)
Kirsten Martin (Notre Dame)
Alice Marwick (Univ. of North Carolina)
Lee McGuigan (Univ. of North Carolina)
Jasmine McNealy
(Univ. of Florida)
Sarah Myers West (AI Now)
Anthony Nadler (Ursinus College)
Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell Tech)  
Rob Noggle (Central Michigan Univ.)
Thomas Nys (Univ. of Amsterdam)
Paul Ohm (Georgetown)      
Frank Pasquale (Brooklyn Law School)
Sarah Rajtmajer (Penn State)

Beate Roessler (Univ. of Amsterdam)

Marijn Sax (Univ. of Amsterdam)

Hauke Sandhaus (Cornell Tech)

Ido Sivan-Sevilla (Univ. of Maryland)

Daniel Susser (Penn State)
Joe Turow (Univ. of Pennsylvania) 
Ari Waldman (Northeastern)     
Karen Yeung (Univ. of Birmingham)
Tal Zarsky (Univ. of Haifa)



Getting to Cornell Tech's Bloomberg Center

Below is a list of multi-modal transportation possibilities for getting to the Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech.
F-Train to Roosevelt Island

  • Catching the F-Train to Roosevelt Island is certainly the quickest and most efficient way to venture to Cornell Tech.

  • Once you ascend to the street level, walk south under the bridge for 5-mins until you see the Bloomberg Center.


  • Even though your ultimate destination will be 2 West Loop Road, when catching a cab or Lyft, we recommend you enter/use this address: 1 East Loop Rd, New York, NY 10044.

  • Given that vehicular access to Roosevelt Island is only from Queens, the journey can take up to 55-mins.

  • Once you arrive, walk to the Bloomberg Center. 

Whimsical Options

  • There is a fun cable car from NE Manhattan at 59th Street and 2nd Avenue over to the island (with access from the 4,5,6, and N, R, W lines). Only a metro card is needed. 

  • For novelty, a ferry service to Roosevelt Island is also available, accessible from Wall Street, Brooklyn Navy Yards, East 34th Street, Astoria, and East 90th Street.

Bloomberg Center Foyer Check-in

  • When arriving inside the Bloomberg Center foyer, kindly check-in at the security desk.

  • Once through the turnstiles, follow the signs to Room 161/165. 


Workshop Organizers

Daniel Susser (Penn State University), Lee McGuigan (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill),

Beate Roessler (University of Amsterdam), and Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell Tech).

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More info: maj95@cornell.edu


Fall 2020

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