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Media Forensics Hub

The Hub at Clemson University

The Media Forensics Hub is an interdisciplinary team of researchers working to study and combat online deception with the goal of building society's resilience to the dangers it poses. The team began as a partnership in 2017 between Darren Linvill, professor of communication, and Patrick Warren, associate professor of economics, who worked together to uncover and expose more than 3 million tweets by Russian trolls. The Media Forensics Hub was launched in May 2020 with the support of the Watt Family Innovation Center and sponsorship from the South Carolina Research Authority. Since then, the Hub has created the Spot the Troll quiz, where people can test their own ability to spot online trolls and inauthentic social media accounts. They are also part of a collaboration with several other universities to help fight online scams that target older adults. That project received $5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

In 2022, the Hub received a $3.8 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to continue the work started in 2017. Clemson University is matching the grant, making the total investment in the Hub $7.6 million over the next four years. This funding allowed the Hub to hire four more faculty in different disciplines - psychology, communication, marketing and computer science - to each bring their unique perspectives and expertise to expand the Hub’s research and impact. The grant also funds technology infrastructure for the Hub, as well as graduate assistants and postdoctoral researchers.


The Hub Team


Patrick Warren, Co-Director

Patrick Warren is an associate professor of economics who has been at Clemson since 2008. Before coming to Clemson, he studied at MIT, earning a Ph.D. in economics (2008), and an undergraduate degree from the South Carolina Honors College (BArSc, 2001). His research investigates the operation of organizations in the economy — for-profit and non-profit firms, bureaucracies, political parties and even armies. He has written numerous peer-reviewed articles in top economics and law journals and currently serves as an associate editor of the Public Finance Review. He has served on the board of the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, been a visiting associate professor at Northwestern University and a visiting scholar at the RAND Corporation.


Darren Linvill, Co-Director

Darren Linvill is a professor of communication whose research explores social media disinformation and its influence on civil discourse (in and out of the classroom). He became a faculty member at Clemson after earning degrees from Wake Forest and Clemson and started studying social media in 2010. After becoming an associate professor in 2017, he delved deeper into the truth or falsity of online messaging and its effects. As a sought-after media expert, he’s contributed to many articles and broadcasts by outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Rolling Stone, Inside Higher Ed, The State, CNN, NPR, ABC, NBC, WFAE and others.


  • Jinan Allan, Assistant Professor, Psychology
    Dr. Jinan Allen
    Jinan Allan

    Jinan Allan is an assistant professor of psychology, whose research focuses on human decision-making and risk literacy (i.e., the ability to evaluate and understand risk information). Before coming to Clemson, she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Science of Intelligence Cluster of Excellence in Berlin, Germany (2021-23). She received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Oklahoma (2021), where she conducted research on the effects of human intelligence and statistical numeracy on risk literacy and decision-making skills. Her research uses behavioral science and psychometric techniques to develop metrics and models of human decision-making and risk communication, with applications to diverse domains, including extreme weather risk information (e.g., tornado and hurricane warnings). 

  • Sayan Gupta, Assistant Professor, Marketing
    Dr. Sayan Gupta
    Sayan Gupta

    Sayan Gupta is an assistant professor of marketing, whose teaching interests focus on digital and social media marketing, marketing analytics, and brand management. His paper “Dousing a Social Media Firestorm: Understanding and Mitigating Polarization in the Aftermath of Brand Crises” was awarded Best Paper at the Digital and Social Media Marketing track at the 2022 Winter American Marketing Association conference. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh and holds a graduate degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management Indore and a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Technology in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

  • Ayse Lokmanoglu, Assistant Professor, Communication
    Dr. Ayse Longmanoku
    Ayse Lokmanoglu

    Ayse D. Lokmanoglu is an assistant professor at Clemson University and currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Communication and Public Policy at Northwestern University, and she is a leadership member of Vox Pol Network. Her work takes a mixed methods approach that integrates computational methodologies and critical cultural theory to examine information campaigns in digital media associated with racial, gender and religious supremacy. Her dissertation “Imagined Economics: An Analysis of Non-state Actor Economic Messaging” was awarded the 2022 National Communication Association Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Her project “A Picture is Worth a Thousand (S)words: Classification and Diffusion of Memes on a Partisan Media Platforms” was funded by The Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) Year 3 Award. She has published in journals including Information, Communication and Society; Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; Cambridge Review of International Affairs; International Journal of Communication, Terrorism and Political Violence; Health Communication; Social Science and Medicine; and many others.

  • Dawn Sarno, Assistant Professor of Psychology
    Dawn Sarno received her PhD in Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Central Florida and began teaching at Clemson University in July of 2020. Her research interests broadly center around applied visual cognition, aging, working memory, cybersecurity and training.
  • Morgan Wack, Assistant Research Professor
    Dr. Morgan Wack
    Morgan Wack

    Morgan Wack is an assistant research professor with the Media Forensics Hub. Prior to joining the Hub, he received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. from Colorado College. His research interests emphasize the political consequences that result from the dissemination and use of novel communication and identification technologies, particularly in the Global South. He has had articles published in the fields of political science, information sciences and sociology and his research has been covered by journalistic outlets such as The Guardian and The Conversation. In addition to his academic work, he has assisted government agencies and NGOs in several countries on issues related to healthcare, education and misinformation.

Staff and Students

  • Matt Chambers, Visual Analytics
    Matt Chamber
    Matt Chambers

    Matt Chambers brings over a decade of experience in data visualization and analytics to the Media Forensics Hub. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Clemson in 2010 and a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design from Clemson in 2022. Serving as a resource to the campus, he provides data visualization, analytics, and architecture solutions that help leadership find insights and make strategic decisions. His research interests center around measuring the persuasive effects of presenting data and information.

  • Akhil Chennamsetty, Senior Software Engineer
    Akhil Chennamsetty
    Akhil Chennamsetty

    Akhil Chennamsetty has Bachelors in Computer Science from Gitam University and a Masters in Computer Science from Oklahoma State University. He has experience in both the academic and industry setting, including work on recommendation systems and predictive modeling. His research interests are software engineering, social media analysis, mobile applications, and machine learning.

  • Rose Ellen Davis-Gross, Program Coordinator

    Rose Ellen Davis-Gross brings over 20 years of experience in higher education to the Media Forensics Hub. Before coming to the Hub, she worked in University governance and University Housing. Rose Ellen has a degree in Marketing from Clemson and a Master of Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina.

  • Carl Ehrett, Data Scientist
    Carl Ehrett
    Carl Ehrett

    Carl Ehrett is a research associate and co-lead of the Watt AI program in the Watt Family Innovation Center. He facilitates research activities applying artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, and works with students and faculty to foster interdisciplinary collaboration growing the AI and analytics community within Clemson. Carl received an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Kentucky with emphasis on cognitive science, a Ph.D. in analytic philosophy from Northwestern University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences from Clemson University.

  • Students
    Steven Sheffield  Steven Sheffield, PhD Student


    Jayson Warren  Jayson Warren, PhD Student


    Jenna DeLorenzo  Jenna DeLorenzo, Knight Fellow


    Amarachi   Amarachi Okoronkwo, Knight Fellow


    Bhavya Pulagam  Bhavya Pulagam, Knight Fellow


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is media forensics?
    Media forensics is traditionally viewed as the scientific study of the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of audio, video, and image evidence obtained during legal proceedings. But we think of it more broadly as the process of providing context to media to increase the depth of our understanding of the media and its implications.
  • Why is media forensics important?
    We live in a world where we spend an increasing amount of time in digital spaces. American adults are online for about 24 hours a week, and increasingly consume news from online resources, including social media, apps, and websites. Understanding the nature and validity of online content and the process of online media consumption and interaction are vital to healthy civil discourse and strong democracy.
  • What's the difference between a bot and a troll?
    A wholly automated social media account that mimics human behavior is typically referred to as a bot. Legitimate social media bots can provide sports scores and weather, but more malicious bots spread disinformation. An account that takes on a fake persona to deceive is often called a troll (the person operating such an account is also often called a troll). These accounts are sometimes referred to as sock puppet accounts. Accounts that are partially automated and partially controlled by a human are call "cyborg" accounts. David Klepper from The Associated Press explains the difference between bots and trolls: Cyborgs, Trolls, and Bots: A Guide to Online Misinformation.
  • What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation?
    Misinformation is simply false or inaccurate information that is not created or spread with the intention to deceive. Disinformation, on the other hand, is a subset of misinformation and is spread deliberately to deceive. The English word disinformation is a loan translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya, derived from a KGB black propaganda department's title. Read more about disinformation: Disinformation, National Public Radio's Word Of The Year And A Sign Of What's To Come an insightful discussion by Geoff Nunberg.
  • Why do people create misinformation and disinformation?
    Much misinformation is created purely for profit. Charlatans such as Alex Jones and his website Infowars create and spread inaccurate and salacious content to sell products to their viewers. Nation states spread misinformation and disinformation to influence how citizens (their own and others’) view important issues or to undermine legitimate discourse. Many domestic actors create misinformation and disinformation for political gain or often just for attention. The reasons are many and varied.
  • I have a suspicious social media account I’d like for you to look at. Is it a troll?
    It's important to understand, the vast majority of social media accounts are genuine. Real people can, however, believe in conspiracy theories. Real people can be obsessive and post at high rates. Real people can even repeat the state propaganda of China, Russia, or Iran. The odds are high any given account is a genuine person voicing their actual beliefs. Sometimes, however, they aren't, and there are signs you can use to tell. If you'd like to learn more, take a look at our Spot the Troll quiz.
  • How can I get involved in the Media Forensics Hub?
    • I am an undergraduate student -- The Media Forensics Hub runs a regular Creative Inquiry class for Clemson Students. Learn more about it.
    • I am a researcher, journalist or member of the public -- contact the Media Forensics Hub at
Media Forensics Hub
Media Forensics Hub | Watt Family Innovation Center, Clemson, SC