Political Communication, Discussion & Digital Media
In general terms, Patricia's research examines how digital platforms enable or constrain certain democratic practices -- e.g. political talk --, as well as the extent to which potentially problematic online behaviors -- e.g. seeing, sharing misinformation -- can have detrimental outcomes for democratic societies. Her current work is primarily focused on informal political talk in digital platforms, with emphasis on antinormative or abusive discourse practices (e.g. incivility, intolerance, hateful speech). She is also interested in understanding how different social platforms shape political discussion online and may enable multiple forms of political participation — including engagement with democratically detrimental content, such as misinformation.
The focus on uncivil and abusive online content is at the core of Dr. Rossini's current research agenda. In addition to leading the development of metrics related to uncivil and intolerant discourse online in a research project funded by Twitter, she also collaborates with the project Hate Speech: Measures and Counter Measures led by the Turing Institute.
Digital Campaigns and Political Communication
Dr. Rossini is also a collaborator in the Illuminating Project, hosted by the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and led by Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley. The project uses computational methods to investigate the use of social media by political campaigns for strategic communication in the United States at scale, focusing on presidential (2016, 2020), gubernatorial (2014, 2018), and congressional races (2018). In this project, Dr. Rossini leads the efforts to analyze public discussion about the candidates on social media, including the development of algorithms to detect uncivil and intolerant discourse.
For the 2020 US presidential campaign, Dr. Rossini leads the development of measures of toxic campaign discourse in political ads by candidates and interest groups on social media, as part of the Illuminating 2020 project, supported by the Knight Foundation.
Dr. Rossini also leads the expansion of the framework developed within the Illuminating Project to study the 2019 General Elections in Britain, along with Dr. Emily Harmer and Dr. Rosalynd Southern.
Funded Research Projects
University of Liverpool Covid-19 ODA Rapid Response. ‘It’s on WhatsApp, so it must be true!’: Social media and news use as pathways to explain (mis)perceptions and behaviours about Covid-19. Principal Investigator: Patrícia Rossini. Co-principal investigator: Antonis Kalogeropoulos. May 2020 – current.
Facebook Content Governance Awards. What Makes Social Media Content Harmful? A User-Centric Comparative Approach. Principal Investigator: Patricia Rossini. Co-principal investigators: Cristian Vaccari, Rebekah Tromble, Yannis Theocharis. March 2020 – current.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Grant. Illuminating 2020. Principal Investigator: Jennifer Stromer-Galley. Co-Principal Investigators: Jeff Hemsley & Patricia Rossini. December 2019 – current.
Twitter. Devising metrics for assessing echo chambers, incivility, and intolerance. Principal Investigator: Rebekah Tromble. Co-Principal Investigators: Patricia Rossini, Dirk Hovy, Nava Tintarev, Michael Meffert, Jennifer Stromer-Galley. January 2020 – current.
Facebook Integrity Foundation Research Awards. Visual Misinformation in Global Perspective: Platforms, Devices, and Users. Principal Investigator: Cristian Vaccari. Co-Principal Investigators: Patricia Rossini, Michael Chan, Shira Dvir-Gvirsman, Iginio Gagliardone, Raquel Recuero, Nicole Stremlau. January 2019 — current.
WhatsApp Misinformation and Social Science Research Awards. WhatsApp as a source of political participation and (mis)information in Brazil. Principal Investigator: Patricia Rossini. Co- Principal Investigators: V. Veiga, E. Baptista, J. Stromer-Galley. January 2019 — January 2020.
What Makes Social Media Content Harmful? A User-Centric Comparative Approach
March 2020 - August 2022