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Jan Zilinsky

Postdoctoral Fellow

TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology

Research Associate

Center for Social Media and Politics (NYU)

Does technology disrupt democratic politics or does it merely render inequalities, intolerance and government incompetence visible? I am a computational social scientist and I study the effects of new tech on politics and society.

A teacher with a group of student

Photo: Last day of teaching a seminar on behavioral economics and political campaigns


Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar

About Me


I develop methods and instruments for measuring what I consider to be important aspects of contemporary politics: economic populism, grievances, anti-tech sentiment, ideological arguments, and conspiracy theorizing. My work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Nature Communications, Political Analysis, Political Behavior, and other peer-reviewed journals.

Technology & Politics

  • (Theme 1: Content moderation and online safety) Platforms balance their wishes to respect users' free speech sensibilities with protecting people from online abuse. How can they deal with "lawful but awful" content, given that toxicity is often in the eye of the beholder? We measure preferences for content moderation and discuss how governance of platforms can be improved.

  • (Theme 2: Attitudes about AI) Which citizens are deeply skeptical of modern technology, and what are the downstream consequences of anti-tech attitudes? Thomas Zeitzoff and I are currently working on these questions.

Political communication and digital media: My research has dealt with issues including foreign influence operations targeting US elections, the supply of political messages by celebrities, the filter bubble hypothesis, and toxicity of political Facebook ads. My latest paper is about disinformation about the war in Ukraine.

Public opinion and political behavior: Are (especially young) citizens disillusioned with democracy? What are economic identities? What is the relative importance of identities, policy issues, and partisanship when people vote? Do heavy users of social media believe more conspiracy theories?

Methods: To what extent is economic sentiment influenced by motivated reasoning? With James Bisbee, we identified several considerations for measuring the component of (subjective) economic evaluations which is driven by objective economic conditions.



  • Toxic Speech and Limited Demand for Content Moderation on Social Media. With Franziska Pradel, Spyros Kosmidis and Yannis Theocharis. 2024. American Political Science Review. Open-access. ​

  • Donate to help us fight back: Political fundraising and toxic rhetoric online. With Silvia Kim and Brian Brew. 2024. Party Politics.

  • Justifying an Invasion: Where and Why is Disinformation Successful? (first author with many co-authors) R&R. Political Communication. Abstract.

  • Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories and Online News Consumption during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With Soyeon Jin. Franziska Pradel, and Yannis Theocharis. 2024. Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media (open-access).

  • Exposure to the Russian Internet Research Agency foreign influence campaign on Twitter in the 2016 US election and its relationship to attitudes and voting behavior. 2023. With Gregory Eady, Tom Paskhalis, Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler and Joshua A. Tucker. Nature CommunicationsPublished paper (open-access)Short summary. Coverage: Washington PostNieman Journalism LabThe Hill TVWall Street JournalThe InterceptTech Policy Press podcastColumbia Journalism ReviewOther

  • Geographic Boundaries and Local Economic Conditions Matter for Views of the Economy. 2023. Political Analysis. With James BisbeePaper | Code and data

  • Division Does Not Imply Predictability: Demographics Continue to Reveal Little About Voting and Partisanship. 2022. Political Behavior. With Seo-young Silvia Kim. Published paper (open-access) | Pre-print | Code on Github | MPSA Slides | Podcast

  • Don’t Republicans Tweet Too? Using Twitter to Assess the Consequences of Political Endorsements by Celebrities. Perspectives on Politics, 2020. With Vaccari, C., Nagler, J. & Tucker, J. A. PDF | Monkey Cage summary

  • Democratic deconsolidation revisited: Young Europeans are not dissatisfied with democracy.Research & Politics, 2019. PDF (open-access)

  • How Many People Live in Political Bubbles on Social Media? Evidence from Linked Survey and Twitter Data. Sage Open, 2019. With Gregory Eady, Jonathan Nagler, Andrew Guess, and Joshua Tucker. PDF (open-access) | Summaries: Pacific StandardMain chart

  • The Happiness Gap in Eastern Europe. Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016. With Simeon Djankov and Elena Nikolova. PDF | Summary: Financial Times blog | Ungated SSRN & OSF pre-prints


A group of students with their lecturer in an outside atrium

Selected (non-peer-reviewed) articles

Recent talks

Miami, Zurich, Florence, Abu Dhabi & Munich

photos of three public talks
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