is an associate professor at the University of Washington and a co-founder of the Center for an Informed Public, which researches the spread of misinformation and disinformation on social-media platforms. She has been studying social media, especially its use during crises, since 2009, the year that
became the dominant online social-media site.
The Wall Street Journal talked to Prof. Starbird about what her research says about the impact of social media in 2020, and the work that still needs to be done to realize the benefits that social media can bring. Edited excerpts follow.
WSJ: What would you say is the most important takeaway from the social-media world in 2020?
PROF. STARBIRD: We’re really focused right now on a lot of the negatives with social media. But there are still positive dimensions. We’re still seeing people being able to reach out and connect with other people at