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Zeynep Tufekci is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina and an opinion writer at the New York Times.

Her first book, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, was published by Yale University Press. She is currently working on a book about the social impacts of artificial intelligence and digital connectivity on society, with special emphasis on machine learning and data.

Zeynep started her career as a computer programmer before switching to social science to explore the interaction between technology and society.



Create an IPCC-like body to harness benefits and combat harms of digital tech

BKC Affiliate Joseph Bak-Coleman, BKC Director James Mickens, and BKC Faculty Associate Zeynep Tufekci write to advocate for an intergovernmental panel to synthesize the evidence…

May 17, 2023
The New York Times

The Shameful Open Secret Behind Southwest’s Failure

BKC Faculty Associate Zeynep Tufekci writes about technical debt, the problem at the heart of Southwest’s flight cancellation fiasco.

Dec 31, 2022
The New York Times

What Would Plato Say About ChatGPT?

BKC Faculty Associate Zeynep Tufekci writes about conversational AI ChatGPT’s role in an evolving society.  “As Plato was wrong to fear the written word as the enemy, we…

Dec 15, 2022
The New York Times Opinion

We should try to prevent another Alex Jones

BKC Faculty Associate Zeynep Tufekci writes about disinformation and "prevent[ing] another Alex Jones." “It has become so easy to lucratively lie to so many people, and we…

Oct 16, 2022

Zeynep Tufekci on why everyone should stop 'doomscrolling'

Zeynep Tufekci on why everyone should stop 'doomscrolling'

Feb 7, 2021
The New York Times

It’s the End of an Era for the Media, No Matter Who Wins the Election

evelyn douek and Zeynep Tufekci are cited by The New York Times

Nov 1, 2020
The Atlantic

The Pandemic Is No Excuse to Surveil Students

Zeynep Tufecki discusses college COVID-19 apps in an op-ed for The Atlantic.

Sep 4, 2020
The New York Times

How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right

Zeyenp Tufecki featured in The New York Times

Aug 23, 2020
The Atlantic

Don’t Believe the COVID-19 Models

Zeynep Tufekci says that’s not what they’re for

Apr 2, 2020
The Atlantic

It Wasn’t Just Trump Who Got It Wrong

America’s coronavirus response failed because we didn’t understand the complexity of the problem.

Mar 24, 2020
TED Radio Hour

How Do We Build Systems Of Trust Online?

Zeynep Tufekci says to rebuild trust in the internet, we need to entirely restructure how it operates.

Mar 20, 2020
The New York Times

Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired

To help manage the shortage, the authorities sent a message that made them untrustworthy.

Mar 17, 2020
Scientific American

Preparing for Coronavirus to Strike the U.S.

Getting ready for the possibility of major disruptions is not only smart; it’s also our civic duty

Feb 28, 2020
The Atlantic

How the Coronavirus Revealed Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw

China’s use of surveillance and censorship makes it harder for Xi Jinping to know what’s going on in his own country.

Feb 22, 2020
The Atlantic

Who Needs the Russians?

Don’t blame shadowy foreign hackers for the chaos in Iowa. Blame Shadow’s caucus app, says faculty associate Zeynep Tufekci.

Feb 4, 2020

All I Ever Wanted Was a One-Trick Pony

Zeynep Tufekci calls for devices with fewer distractions

Sep 24, 2019

Altruism Still Fuels the Web. Businesses Love to Exploit It.

Humans aren't incorrigibly or universally selfish, but we've built plenty of institutions that do act that way.

Aug 20, 2019

We Are Tenants on Our Own Devices

While are benefits of “smart” technology, they also afford companies significant control over the devices.

May 20, 2019
Scientific American

The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones

It's not just bad storytelling—it’s because the storytelling style changed from sociological to psychological

May 17, 2019

How Recommendation Algorithms Run the World

What should you watch? What should you read? What's news? What's trending? Wherever you go online, companies have come up with very particular, imperfect ways of answering these…

Apr 22, 2019
The New York Times

Think You’re Discreet Online? Think Again

Thanks to “data inference” technology, companies know more about you than you disclose.

Apr 21, 2019
The New Yorker

What’s New About Conspiracy Theories?

Outsiders have always had a weakness for paranoid fantasies. Now our leaders are conspiracists, too.

Apr 15, 2019

Machines Shouldn’t Have to Spy On Us to Learn

How do we expand the benefits of machine learning, while protecting privacy?

Mar 25, 2019
How We Get to Next

Scientists Like Me Are Studying Your Tweets—Are You OK With That?

"Public" data ethics: Best practices for social media researchers

Anything “public” on social media may be fair game, but researchers should be more ethical about using that data

Mar 19, 2019
Carnegie Reporter

Secure the Vote

Assessing the integrity, safety, and security of the vote -- the most important element of a truly democratic government

Feb 19, 2019

The Imperfect Truth About Finding Facts In A World Of Fakes

Fakery is gushing in from everywhere and we’re drowning in it.

Feb 18, 2019

Yes, Big Platforms Could Change Their Business Models

The few companies that control our digital public sphere—Facebook, Google, and Twitter—are all driven by the same fundamental business model, and it has only grown more pernicious…

Dec 17, 2018
New York Times

Russian Meddling Is a Symptom, Not the Disease

Foreign meddling is to our politics what a fever is to tuberculosis: a mere symptom of a deeper problem.

Oct 3, 2018
MIT Technology Review

How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump

To understand how digital technologies went from instruments for spreading democracy to weapons for attacking it, you have to look beyond the technologies themselves.

Aug 14, 2018


Nov 12, 2020 @ 9:30 AM

Retrospective Contact Tracing: How States Can Investigate Covid-19 Clusters

Video & Podcast: A conversation with experts on how US states can implement retrospective contact tracing

Video & Podcast: A session exploring how US state and local public health leaders can implement retrospective contact tracing to identify Covid-19 clusters and mitigate their…

May 9, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Twitter and Tear Gas with Zeynep Tufekci

The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest

Join us for this firsthand account and incisive analysis of modern protest, revealing internet-fueled social movements’ greatest strengths and frequent challenges.

Sep 27, 2016 @ 4:00 PM

Power and Participation in the Networked Public Sphere

with John Palfrey, Yochai Benkler, Intisar Rabb, Zeynep Tufekci, Catherine Bracy, and Jonathan Zittrain

A creative discussion about the impact of the networked public sphere on global events, power dynamics, and our society at large, and how that influence may be changing in years…

Oct 15, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

Getting from No to Go: Social Media-Fueled Protest Style From Arab Spring to Gezi Protests in Turkey

Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina and faculty associate at Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Last few years witnessed a wave of protests around the world. Now that we have a number of case studies, what are the lessons we can draw? How does social media impact the…

Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

From Tehran to Tahrir: Social Media and Dynamics of Collective Action under Authoritarian Regimes

Zeynep Tufekci, University of North Carolina

Using empirical findings from a large protestor survey from Tahrir, Cairo (from Feb. 2011; n=1050), Zeynep Tufekci discusses how the new media ecology impacts dynamics of…