Kate Starbird is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington (UW) in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE). She is Co-founder and Director of the Center for an Informed Public (CIP) and the Director of the Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation (emCOMP) Laboratory, both at UW. She is also adjunct faculty in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Information School, and a data science fellow at the eScience Institute.
Professor Starbird’s research is situated within human-computer interaction (HCI) and the emerging field of crisis informatics, i.e. the study of the how social media and other information-communication technologies (ICTs) are used during crisis events. Professor Starbird and her colleagues use a mixed method approach, integrating quantitative, visual, and qualitative analysis to understand human behavior as mediated by social media and other digital platforms. Currently, her work focuses on the production and spread of online rumors, misinformation, and disinformation during crises — including “natural” disasters, political disruptions, and a global pandemic. In particular, she investigates the “participatory” nature of online disinformation campaigns, exploring both top-down and bottom-up dynamics.
Professor Starbird has received grants from the Knight Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation to create the Center for an Informed Public (CIP). Formed in 2019, CIP’s mission focuses on resisting strategic misinformation, promoting an informed society, and strengthening democratic discourse. Professor Starbird has also received funding from the National Science Foundation for the “Rapid Response” Research program to address Election Misinformation.
B.S. Computer Science Stanford University, 1997
Ph.D. Media and Society, University of Colorado, 2012