Kate Starbird is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) and Director of the Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation (emCOMP) Laboratory. She is also adjunct faculty in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Information School and a data science fellow at the eScience Institute.
Kate's research is situated within human-computer interaction (HCI) and the emerging field of crisis informatics — the study of how information-communication technologies (ICTs) are used during crisis events. Her research examines how people use social media to seek, share, and make sense of information after natural disasters (such as earthquakes and hurricanes) and man-made disasters (such as acts of terrorism and mass shooting events). More recently, her work has shifted to focus on the spread of disinformation in this context.
Kate's research touches on broader questions about the intersection of technology and society—including the vast potential for online social platforms to empower people to work together to solve problems, as well as salient concerns related to abuse and manipulation of and through these platforms and the consequent erosion of trust in information.