ACRG group photo
Current ACRG Members

The Algorithms and Culture Research Group (ACRG) led by Associate Professor Brian Ekdale brings together faculty and graduate students from the humanities, social sciences, and computational sciences to explore the political, social, and cultural implications of algorithms used by social media platforms. The group is currently studying the relationship between personalization algorithms and online radicalization through a 3-year, $1 million dollar grant from the Minerva Research Initiative, managed by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

ACRG was formed in 2015 as an interdisciplinary reading group based at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. Over time, ACRG evolved into a research group committed to true interdisciplinarity, guided by the belief that their work is strengthened by incorporating insights, theories, and methodologies from a variety of academic paradigms.

Members of the ACRG come from five universities (University of Iowa, Penn State University, Drake University, Washington University in St. Louis, Christopher Newport University) and several different academic departments, including Journalism & Mass Communication, Communication Studies, Computer Science, African and African American Studies, and Film and Media Studies.


Le, H., Maragh, R., Ekdale, B., High, A., Havens, T., & Shafiq, Z. (2019, May). Measuring political personalization of Google news search. In The World Wide Web Conference (pp. 2957-2963).

Recent Conference Presentations

Habib, H., Srinivasan, P., and Nithyanand, R. (2022) How Participation, Interaction, and Perception in Online Communities Increase Radical Behavior. Proceedings of 2022 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2022).

Ekdale, B., High, A., Maragh-Lloyd, R., Nithyanand, R., Stoldt, R., Biddle, K., Habib, H., Peterson, A., Thiede, J., & Havens, T. (September 2022). Algorithmic personalization and online radicalization: From vaccine hesitancy to trolls to the manosphere. Under review for the Department of Defense (DoD) 6.1 Basic Research Conference, Arlington, VA.

Habib, H., Musa, M., Zaffar, F., and Nithyanand, R. (2022) Are Proactive Interventions for Reddit Communities Feasible. Proceedings of 2022 AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2022).

Stoldt, R., High, A., Peterson, A., Biddle, K., Maragh-Lloyd, R., Ekdale, B., Havens, T., Nithyanand, R., Habib, H., & Thiede, J. (May 2022). Relationships among vaccination attitudes, social media use, and activist vs. radical behavior. Paper accepted for presentation at the International Communication Association Annual Conference, Paris, France.

Stoldt, R., Maragh- Lloyd, R., Ekdale, B., Havens, T., & High, A. (May 2021). Critical race at scale: Using racial discourse communities to audit personalization algorithms. Paper presented at the International Communication Association Annual Conference, Denver, CO.