I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Sciences in the College of Communication and Information at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. I am also a Joint Faculty Assistant Professor in The Bredesen Center's Data Science and Engineering program, a Founding Fellow of the CCI Information Integrity Institute, an Affiliate of the Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs at the Baker School for Public Policy and Public Affairs, and co-director of The MeLa Lab, a multi-university lab that works on problems related to online news and media.
I am a highly interdisciplinary, computational social scientist who takes a pragmatic approach to research. I study the production of, consumption of, and interventions to misinformation, disinformation, rumors, and malign influence in media ecosystems, sometimes relating to broader concerns of U.S. national security.
This work fits into two related categories:
1. Content moderation and information interventions, ranging from automated detection techniques (or alternatives to automated techniques) to content warning label designs. I prioritize ethics, safety, and practicality over building narrowly accurate tools.
Examples: BIT23, CACM22, ICWSM19a, TIST19
2. Media ecosystems, where media is defined broadly and can include news media, social media actors, and social media platforms. Importantly, I am not only referring to media consumption but also media production. For example, asking "what tactics does fringe news outlet X use to spread information?" is just as important as asking "how does fringe news outlet X change consumers' opinions?".
Examples: ICWSM22, ICWSM19b, Websci22, ICWSM24
My background is in Computer Science. Hence, methodologically, I am most experienced in using computational methods from natural language processing, network science, and machine learning on digital trace data. However, I often employ qualitative methods on digital trace data and survey data, as well as design human experiments, to aid my research.
Also, I publish under Benjamin D. Horne, but everyone calls me Ben.
As a brief sample of my work in automated news veracity detection, check out a talk I gave at ICML 2022:
Email: bhorne6 at utk dot edu
Google Scholar: Scholar Profile
Office: 440B Communications Building, 1345 Circle Park, Knoxville TN 37996
Erdős Number: 3 (Erdős -> Goldberg -> Adalı -> Horne)