The University of Chicago announces the upcoming Workshop on Inauthentic Behavior in Online & Digital Systems to be held on Friday, September 25, 2020, and Friday, October 9, 2020.

The workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator and will be held online.

Workshop Overview

The workshop will bring together experts in computer science and social science, from academia and industry, to discuss issues at the intersection of behavioral and information sciences around the theme of “inauthentic behavior” in online and digital systems, the limitations of current tools and approaches in combating this issue, and the need for new approaches and tools in this area.

Topics that will be discussed include:

  • Scope of inauthentic behavior on social media and other internet-based platforms;
  • Tools for identifying and thwarting inauthentic behaviors; and
  • The impact of inauthentic behaviors on consumer activity and public engagement.

Online, digital communications platforms can expose users to a variety of risks. The increased dependence on digital platforms due to COVID-19 further increases the vulnerability of individuals and society to information attacks. By better understanding the converging role of behavioral and information sciences in facilitating information attacks one can begin the process of helping information consumers deal with the attacks. 

Significant work on the problem of coordinated inauthentic behavior campaigns has been separately undertaken by industry groups, individual social media companies, academic researchers, and security organizations. However, there has been limited work towards identifying a convergent research pathway that takes into consideration the divergent viewpoints of each organization. The proposed workshop would provide a unique opportunity to bridge this gap between industry groups, social media platforms, academic researchers, and security practitioners, enabling a foundation for multidisciplinary collaboration and cooperation across sectors.

The workshop will be organized primarily around cohort-based breakout sessions to encourage brainstorming and solutions-based collaboration. The discussions and questions raised throughout the workshop will be collected in a report and published online. The ultimate goal of the report, and this effort, is to inform the creation of a new NSF Convergence Accelerator track.

Please direct any questions to Mary Hanley at


  • Austin Wright, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
  • Phil Stupak, University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Studies
  • Anita Nikolich, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
  • Kathryn Mattie, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
  • Jake Braun, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy


U.S. National Science Foundation - Award Number 2035349

Workshop Anti-Harassment Policy

The University of Chicago Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct and online reporting options are housed on the Office of the Provost’s Equal Opportunity Programs.

Report an incident.