I am a Senior Researcher and Co-Director at the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). I am also the co-founder of the International Conference on Social Media & Society.
My work at the Social Media Lab focuses on projects examining the spread of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories. Additionally, I work on tech policy, social media adoption and usage, research knowledge mobilization, business, and research partnerships, and developing social media research tools for the academic research community. The thread that connects all of my work is building systems, tools, and platforms that help to make our society more transparent. My aim is to connect people, knowledge, and ideas.
I graduated from Syracuse University with a Juris Doctor (JD) in International Law, Master of Arts (MA) in International Relations and Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Business Management. I have over two decades of experience working in research, communications, marketing, and business management in sectors such as academia, technology, and politics. Before joining Toronto Metropolitan University, I was the Projects and Communications Manager at the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship at Dalhousie University and the Research and Communications Manager at the Dalhousie University Social Media Lab. While at Dalhousie, I managed numerous social media-related research projects and led efforts to raise the profile and impact of various other academic initiatives.
I currently live in bustling downtown Toronto. In my spare time, I am an avid traveler, amateur photographer, foodies, and political junkie. If you are looking to connect with me, you can find me on Twitter at @phmai.
Some of my long-term projects include:
- Communalytic.org – A research tool for studying online communities and online discourse. It can collect and analyze public data from various social media platforms including Twitter, Reddit, Telegram and Facebook/ Instagram (via CrowdTangle). It uses advanced AI, text, and social network analysis techniques to automatically analyze posts’ content, pinpoint toxicity, detect bots, assesses sentiments, and discover communication networks.
- Netlytic.org, – A text and social networks analyzer that can automatically summarizes public conversations and discover communication networks from social media posts. It uses various APIs to collect public posts from Twitter, YouTube, and RSS feed. It can also support the analysis of your own datasets via .text/.csv. files.
- PoliDashboard.com, – A open-source data visualization dashboard that is accessible to the public and is designed to help voters, journalists, researchers, and others keep track of political spending on Meta’s products. It provides visual representations of trends related to political and social issue ads on Facebook, Instagram, and other products from Meta. Currently, PoliDashboard tracks and analyses ads from seven different countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Germany, and Denmark.
- ByeByeTweetsapp.com, – An app designed to give users more control over their Twitter data. Users can use it to curate your timeline and let your followers get to know the current you. It can automatically bulk delete up to 3200 of your most recent tweets for free.
- ConflictMisinfo.org – A portal for analysts and researchers interested in studying the nature and scale of online misinformation and disinformation about the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The portal features a dashboard that tracks and visualizes debunked misinformation and disinformation about the Russia-Ukraine war from 100s of trusted fact-checkers worldwide. Debunked claims are collected live and auto translated into English, Ukrainian and Russian.
- Covid19misinfo.org – A rapid response project of the Social Media Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University. The aim of this project is two-fold: (1) put a spotlight on COVID-19 related misinformation and (2) to provide Canadians with timely and actionable information that we all can use to protect ourselves and our community. The portal features a dashboard that tracks and visualizes debunked misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 from 100s of trusted fact-checkers worldwide.