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Opportunity: Research Assistants for the Institute for Rebooting Social Media

Join the Rebooting Social Media team! The Institute for Rebooting Social Media is a three-year research initiative at the Berkman Klein Center and is looking for a few research assistants with fresh ideas, curiosity, and creative drive. Research Assistants will support the core RSM team as well as the cohort of Visiting Scholars as they work on projects and programming related to social media’s most urgent problems, including misinformation, intermediary liability, privacy breaches, harassment, and content governance.

About Rebooting Social Media:

The Institute for Rebooting Social Media (RSM) is a three-year, “pop-up” research initiative at the Berkman Klein Center to accelerate progress towards addressing social media’s most urgent problems. By working with academia, industry, and the public, RSM hopes to research, promote, and create healthier online ecosystems. More information can be found here.


RAs typically work around 10 hours per week, depending on their availability, and will be expected to join a weekly progress meeting. RAs will primarily be responsible for reading and writing literature reviews, reviewing documents, and working with the RSM team in the sense-making of projects conducted at the institute. Also, RAs will be expected to interact with the incoming cohort of RSM Assembly Fellows and Visiting Scholars, connect their research with the broader topics of RSM, and create summaries and reviews that will be shared among the RSM community. Some RAs might have the opportunity to work with a specific RSM Visiting Scholar whose bios and projects can be read about here. RAs assigned to work with a particular Visiting Scholar will support that scholar’s research project.

Applicant Qualities and Roles:

Research Assistantships are an excellent opportunity for students to apply their skills while learning or developing new research skills. While a previous background in the field is a plus, RAs are not expected to master any of the skills listed in the roles below. Instead, successful applicants should demonstrate a strong motivation to understand the social media landscape and address its problems.

Role #1 - Documentation and Research Design - May include:

  • Coding and categorizing documents and databases, or otherwise working within them to facilitate research agendas.
  • Creating or editing material for the RSM website.
  • Writing blog entries for the website discussing current events as they relate to topics such as (but not limited to) content governance, misinformation, and harassment. These provide a good chance to post your work online quickly -- find an interesting event or news story, and write up a blog-style report for posting to the site. These posts can be on topics of your choosing, or on suggestions from RSM staff.
  • Strong writing and observational skills.
  • The ability to work independently and within team operating procedures.

Role #2 - Programming / Data Science - May include:

  • Strong data science skills.
  • An understanding of UX/UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and/or Python.

Role #3 - Qualitative Data Skills - May include:

  • Experience with content analysis and an interest in influencer culture and/or Black studies. Also, moderate audio and video editing skills.
  • Experience with survey data collection, interview transcription, and software used to handle qualitative data, especially NVivo.

Role #4 - Legal - May include:

  • Knowledge of Intermediary Liability.
  • Ongoing (S)JD or LLM.
  • Experience in legal research and policy analysis.
  • Interest in internet policy and online content moderation.
  • An understanding of current issues in online speech and trust & safety from either a technical or policy/legal perspective.

Eligibility/Other information:

  • This position is currently hybrid.
  • To be eligible for this position you must be an enrolled student at a Harvard School.
  • Compensation is the standard rate for Harvard students in RA positions of $20.50/hour.
  • We do not have the ability to provide authorization to work in the U.S. No other benefits are provided.

To Apply:

Please send your current CV or resume and a cover letter summarizing your interest and experience to with the subject line “RSM Research Assistant”. If there is a specific RSM Visiting Scholar whose project you would be excited to support, please indicate this in your cover letter. Applicants may be considered for additional roles and skill sets.

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