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Jonas Kaiser is a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Assistant Professor at Suffolk University, and member of the Spotify Safety Advisory Council.

At BKC, Jonas heads the Misinformation Working Group. His research is located at the intersection of digital and political communication. Jonas’ research interests are online extremism, public sphere theory, online misinformation, algorithmic recommendations, and digital methods.

He is currently working on a book for Oxford University Press on how the far-right in Germany and the United States is (ab)using the internet’s affordances. Jonas earned his PhD (Dr. phil.) at Zeppelin University for his thesis about climate change skepticism in Germany. His work has been published in journals like International Journal of Communication, Digital Journalism, PLOS ONE or Environmental Communication and has been featured in German as well as U.S. news media.

At BKC, Jonas is thinking about the role social media platforms play in creating a networked public sphere and is trying to understand where and how the German and U.S. far-right is trying to establish their topics in the public sphere. He has, for example, written about the role YouTube’s recommendation algorithms play in fostering filter bubbles, what topics (far-)right media outlets are covering during before domestic elections, or how journalists and academics might overestimate Twitter’s relevance for society, the diffusion of mis- and disinformation from fringe to center, and bot detection on Twitter.

Projects & Tools

Media Cloud

Media Cloud is an open source, open data platform that allows researchers to answer complex quantitative and qualitative questions about the content of online media.

Public Discourse in the U.S. 2020 Election

Studying digital media ecosystems and political discourse related to the U.S. presidential election


Oct 29, 2020

Polarization and the Pandemic: American Political Discourse

Public Discourse in the U.S. 2020 Election: March - May

Tracking political discourse in the U.S. for March, April, and May of 2020

Oct 22, 2020

Partisanship, Impeachment, and the Democratic Primaries: American Political Discourse

Public Discourse in the U.S. 2020 Election: January and February

Tracking political discourse in the U.S. for January and February of 2020

Oct 1, 2020

Mail-In Voter Fraud: Anatomy of a Disinformation Campaign

Working paper shows Disinformation Campaign Surrounding the Risk of Voter Fraud Associated with Mail-in Ballots Follows an Elite-Driven, Mass Media Model; Social Media Plays a Secondary Role in 2020

Working paper explores disinformation campaign about mail-in voter fraud

Mar 31, 2020

The false positive problem of automatic bot detection in social science research

A study of Botometer's diagnostic ability over time

A study of Botometer's diagnostic ability over time


Oct 2, 2020

Tracing the disinformation campaign on mail-in voter fraud

Research shows elites, mass media play an important role in spreading voting misinformation

Mar 31, 2020

The false positive problem of automatic bot detection in social science research

A study of Botometer's diagnostic ability over time

A study of Botometer's diagnostic ability over time

Jun 3, 2019

On YouTube’s Digital Playground

YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is under scrutiny for surfacing harmful content

BKC researchers lend insight into YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, which is under scrutiny for surfacing harmful content



Leave fact-checking to the fact-checkers

In Nieman Lab's predictions for journalism in 2022, Jonas Kaiser explores the need for fact-checking — and who should be doing it.

Dec 15, 2021

Deplatforming the far-right: An analysis of YouTube and BitChute

Jonas Kaiser and colleague evaluate the impact of deplatforming

Jun 15, 2021
International Journal of Communication

Fighting Zika With Honey: An Analysis of YouTube’s Video Recommendations on Brazilian YouTube

Jonas Kaiser and colleagues publish in International Journal of Communication

Feb 17, 2021

How YouTube helps form homogeneous online communities

Jonas Kaiser and colleague discuss YouTube's recommendation algorithm

Dec 23, 2020

Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Jonas Kaiser shares his predictions for journalism in 2021 with NiemanLab.

Dec 17, 2020
Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Bot or not?

Jonas Kaiser talks with German radio station about social media bots, his recent paper

Jun 18, 2020
The New York Times

Who’s a Bot? Who’s Not?

Joan Donovan and Jonas Kaiser discuss challenges with studying automated bots on social media

Jun 16, 2020

How YouTube shields advertisers (not viewers) from harmful videos

The difference between the protections YouTube offers its advertisers and those it provides consumers is stark.

Jan 22, 2020
Nieman Lab

Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Jonas Kaiser on what journalists can learn from the late 2000s when it comes to misinformation

Dec 18, 2019
Digital Journalism

Connecting the (Far-)Right Dots: A Topic Modeling and Hyperlink Analysis of (Far-)Right Media Coverage during the US Elections 2016

Research discusses the relevance of alternative media for the US (far-)right

Nov 5, 2019
The New York Times

How YouTube Radicalized Brazil

Research informs New York Times investigation into YouTube’s recommendations

Aug 11, 2019
The Weekly

What is YouTube Pushing You to Watch Next

Research shows that YouTube’s recommendation system pushes users toward extremist content.

Aug 9, 2019
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How YouTube was recommending kids’ videos to pedophiles

A Q&A with Jonas Kaiser about his YouTube research, which uncovered harmful content

Jun 13, 2019
The Hill

Researcher calls YouTube extremist content ban 'too little, too late'

Jonas Kaiser talks about his YouTube research and calls for transparency

Jun 13, 2019

"Deep-fakes": Counterfeits Using Artificial Intelligence

The ability to mimic the sound of someone else's voice is becoming easier and easier thanks to AI. It sounds like fun, but it can be a problem.

Apr 29, 2019

The Far-Right and its Vicious Cycle of Extremism

Contemporary transformations in radical forms

How the internet can contribute to individual and group radicalization.

Apr 15, 2019
Journal of the European Institute for Communication and Culture

Integrating Concepts of Counterpublics into Generalised Public Sphere Frameworks

Contemporary Transformations in Radical Forms

The Internet's role in forming and radicalizing non-mainstream discourse arenas

Mar 29, 2019

Are the platforms finally growing up?

Jonas Kaiser in conversation with Vera Linß and Martin Böttcher

Jonas Kaiser on Youtube, platforms, and speech

Feb 16, 2019

Filling the void Alex Jones left behind

How social media bans reshape the filter bubble

Aug 8, 2018


Apr 7, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

[Virtual] Bot or Human? Unreliable Automatic Bot Detection

Video & Podcast: An Analysis of Botometer

Video & Podcast: Jonas Kaiser and Adrian Rauchfleisch discuss their paper on Botometer's diagnostic ability over time

Jan 23, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

The Dark Side of the Networked Public Sphere

featuring Jonas Kaiser, Berkman Klein Affiliate

In this talk, Berkman Klein affiliate Jonas Kaiser will share some of his research on the networked public sphere. "The right-wing is rising. Not only in the United States but…