Filipino professor Jonathan Ong named Carnegie Fellow for Philippine troll disinformation research

Jonathan Ong Carnegie Fellow Philippine troll
2022 Andrew Carnegie Fellow Jonathan Corpus Ong is a disinformation researcher and associate professor of global digital media at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Photo from Jonathan Corpus Ong FB.

Filipino professor Jonathan Corpus Ong has been named a 2022 Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for his research focused on troll farms and disinformation campaigns on the internet.

The associate professor of global digital media at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is among this year’s honorees of the annual fellowship program which awards grants to scholars in the social sciences and humanities.

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Ong is one of 28 exceptional scholars, journalists, and authors awarded $200,000 stipends in recognition of their efforts to address important and enduring issues confronting society.

Ong, a research fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center for the Technology and Social Change Project, underlined the importance of today’s urgent fight against online disinformation in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Rico Hizon on April 27, 2022.

“This is such an urgent problem for us and this started in 2016. I really wanted to interview the people in troll operations, who are they, how were they recruited into this kind of work. I think we have done a lot in terms of unmasking, you know, low-level operators. But we really need to see this as a thriving and booming industry in the Philippines and we need to draw a lot more attention to it,” Jonathan Corpus Ong told CNN Philippines in an interview.

The Filipino researcher said many of the “paid trolls” who operate on social media take on the task of spreading disinformation as “side gigs” alongside their respectable day jobs. His work uncovers the truth behind political troll farms and online disinformation campaigns.

Ong has authored two books and over 25 journal articles in the areas of media ethics, humanitarian communication, and digital politics. His new project titled “Human Costs of Disinformation,” investigates “work conditions in the disinformation interventions industry” and explores “global funding structures as well as the digital harms experienced by pro-democracy frontliners in a global context.”

Ong also shares his insights on disinformation in the podcast, Catch Me If You Can. He partnered with journalist Kat Ventura and the award-winning PumaPodcast team to tackle the world of troll farms and “online black propaganda machinery in the Philippines.”

LISTEN to Jonathan Ong on PumaPodcast at this link.

The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program supports high-caliber scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities that address important and enduring issues confronting our society.

This year’s fellows contribute to advancing research on U.S. democracy, the environment, polarization and inequality, technological and cultural evolution, and international relations, among other subjects.

Team Troglodyte of the Philippines won the Break The Fake hackathons in 2019 that produced tech solutions to fight disinformation.

The first Filipino Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa’s Salant Lecture on Freedom of the Press at Harvard Kennedy School focused on her work on combating disinformation networks associated with distorting online conversations and political discourse.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipino disinformation researcher and professor Jonathan Corpus Ong, a 2022 Andrew Carnegie Fellow of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.