Media Forensics Hub adds four new faculty


The Clemson University Media Forensics Hub has expanded its research team with four new faculty from different fields, thanks to a recent $3.8 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Jinan Allan, assistant professor of psychology — Allan’s research focuses on human decision-making and risk literacy, which is the ability to evaluate and understand risk information, such as severe weather warnings or alerts to other dangerous situations. Before coming to Clemson, she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Science of Intelligence Cluster of Excellence in Berlin, Germany. She received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Oklahoma, where she conducted research on the effects of human intelligence and statistical numeracy on risk literacy and decision-making skills. Her research uses behavioral science and psychometric techniques to develop metrics and models of human decision-making and risk communication, with applications to diverse domains, including extreme weather risk information. 

“Because my research focuses on people’s ability to understand risk information and make informed decisions, I was excited by the Hub’s mission to study misinformation and disinformation in online environments. I am excited to work with the Hub’s interdisciplinary team to study who, when and why people may fall prey to misinformation and disinformation. Additionally, my hope is that in the long run, we will be able to develop trainings or interventions to support diverse people to better recognize misinformation, and to make more informed decisions in online environments.” — Jinan Allen

Sayan Gupta, assistant professor of marketing — Gupta’s research and teaching interests focus on digital and social media marketing, marketing analytics, brand management and the marketing-finance interface. His dissertation titled “Essays on Brand Actions and Love-Hate Relationships with Consumers” investigated various aspects of consumer polarization in response to brand crises and won the ISMS Early-Stage Dissertation Proposal Award. The dissertation’s first essay, “Dousing a Social Media Firestorm: Understanding and Mitigating Brand Echo-Chambers in the Aftermath of Brand Crises” was also awarded Best Paper in the Digital and Social Media Marketing track at the 2022 Winter American Marketing Association conference. He received his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2023 and holds a post graduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management Indore and a bachelor’s and master’s in technology in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. His work has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

“The Media Forensics Hub’s capabilities in fighting online deception are critical to my research on brand safety. Consumer trust has been on the decline over the past several years, thanks to misinformation, privacy and cybersecurity threats, online polarization, and the overwhelming preponderance of negative press. The Hub provides a sanctum for interdisciplinary brainstorming that could provide some of the most impactful solutions to these burning issues for marketing practitioners.” — Sayan Gupta

Ayse Lokmanoglu, assistant professor of communication — Lokmanoglu is a leadership member of Vox Pol Network and an affiliate of the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP). Her work takes a mixed-method approach that integrates computational methodologies, quantitative tools, and digital humanities to examine the mainstreaming of supremacist ideologies on the internet by state and non-state actors focused on race, gender, and religion. Her dissertation “Imagined Economics: An Analysis of Non-state Actor Economic Messaging” was awarded the 2022 National Communication Association Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Her project “A Picture is Worth a Thousand (S)words: Classification and Diffusion of Memes on a Partisan Media Platforms” was funded by The Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) Year 3 Award. She has published in journals including Information, Communication and Society, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, International Journal of Communication, Terrorism and Political Violence, Health Communication, Social Science and Medicine, and many others.

“The Hub’s research on disinformation, and the space it provides for researchers to pursue their own passion is what I loved about the Hub and Clemson.”  — Ayse Lokmanoglu

Morgan Wack, assistant research professor of economics — Wack’s research interests emphasize the political consequences that result from the dissemination and use of novel communication and identification technologies, particularly in the Global South. He has had articles published in the fields of political science, information sciences and sociology and his research has been covered by journalistic outlets such as The Guardian and The Conversation. In addition to his academic work, he has assisted government agencies and other organizations in several countries on issues related to healthcare, education and misinformationHe received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College.

“I am looking forward to working with multi-disciplinary team members to address questions at the forefront of social media research. In addition to these collaborations, my position with Clemson provides an opportunity to contribute to the continued development and expansion of the Media Forensics Hub in critical academic and policy spaces.” — Morgan Wack

The Media Forensics Hub is an interdisciplinary team of researchers working to not only study online deception but to also develop tools and educate people to recognize it and to stop it from spreading.

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