Alice E. Marwick
Area of Study: Media & Technology Studies
PhD, New York University
MA, University of Washington
BA, Wellesley College
Alice E. Marwick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Media Law and Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she researches the social, political, and cultural implications of popular social media technologies. Her current book project examines how the networked nature of online privacy disproportionately impacts marginalized individuals in terms of gender, race, and socio-economic status. Marwick is also a Faculty Advisor to the Media Manipulation project at the Data & Society Research Institute, which studies far-right online subcultures and their use of social media to spread misinformation. Her first book, Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Branding in the Social Media Age (Yale 2013), draws from ethnographic fieldwork in the San Francisco tech scene to examine how people seek social status through attention and visibility online. Marwick was formerly Director of the McGannon Communication Research Center and Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, and a postdoctoral researcher in the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. She writes for popular publications such as The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and The Guardian in addition to academic journals including New Media and Society, Public Culture, Social Media & Society, the International Journal of Communication and Television & New Media, among others.
Dr. Marwick is a qualitative communications scholar who uses ethnographic and critical methods to analyze the sociocultural impact of popular digital technologies. Her guiding research question asks how digital media alters the nature of audiences and the individuals and communities that compose them. On social media sites, audiences are networked, or connected to each other, engendering new social dynamics and amplifying or diminishing others. She is interested in how people contend with such changes in new technologies, how social media shapes individual lives and social interactions, and how power plays into these shifts.
She is currently engaged in research on far-right subcultural use of social media to spread extremist messages through mainstream media. In 2017 she co-authored a flagship report, Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online, which detailed how a group of subcultural online actors were using social media technologies like 4chan, 8chan, Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to coordinate and spread news frames and set public agendas. Dr. Marwick is currently investigating the radicalization of technology workers through organized opposition to diversity efforts at large technology companies.
Her second book project (under contract with Yale Press) looks at the networked nature of online privacy. The ability of people to share information about each other to broad, unknown audiences exposes the weaknesses in both the legal concept of privacy as an individual right, and technological controls which presume individual control over data provision. Unfortunately, the people most vulnerable to the leaks endemic to networked privacy are those marginalized elsewhere. Using interview and focus group data, this project examines how networked privacy particularly affects marginalized populations, with chapters devoted to the online harassment of women; monitoring of low socioeconomic status individuals; and parental surveillance of youth.
Other research interests include microcelebrity, consumer surveillance, information policy, feminist technology studies, and youth and technology.
Faculty Affiliate, UNC Center for Media Law and Policy
2017 Global Thinker, Foreign Policy Magazine
2016-2017 Fellow, Data & Society Research Institute
Nominee, Future of Privacy Forum’s Privacy Papers for Policymakers Award for “Privacy, Poverty, and Big Data: A Matrix of Vulnerabilities for Poor Americans.”
Burgess, J., Marwick, A., and Poell, T. (Eds.) (2017). The Sage Handbook of Social Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Marwick, A. and Lewis, B. (2017). Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online. New York: Data & Society Research Institute. https://datasociety.net/output/media-manipulation-and-disinfo-online/
Marwick, A. (2017). “Scandal or Sex Crime? Gendered Privacy and the Celebrity Nude Photo Leaks.” Ethics and Information Technology, 19(3), 177-191. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10676-017-9431-7
Gilman, M., Madden, M., Levy, K & Marwick, A. (2017). “Privacy, Poverty and Big Data: A Matrix of Vulnerabilities for Poor Americans.” Washington University Law Review 95(1): 53-125. http://openscholarship.wustl.edu/law_lawreview/vol95/iss1/6/
Marwick, A., Fontaine, C. & boyd, d. (2017). “‘Nobody sees it, nobody gets mad’: Social Media, Privacy, and Personal Responsibility among Low-SES Youth.” Social Media & Society, May 30. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305117710455
Hargittai, E. and Marwick, A. (2016). “‘What Can I Really Do?’ Explaining the Privacy Paradox with Online Apathy.” International Journal of Communication 16. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/4655