Megan Squire

Computer Science PhD: data science, cybersecurity, online extremism

How are extremist groups organizing online? Who are the key players and what do they believe? Which groups are growing and which are shrinking? Why are some online communities more toxic than others?

I collect, store, and analyze data - mostly from social media, but other sources as well - so we can understand how extremist and niche online communities work.

Latest Papers

Here are a few of my latest research papers and findings.

telegram

The Pushshift Telegram Dataset

Describes our dataset of 27.8K channels and 317M messages from 2.2M unique users, designed to study social movements, protests, political extremism, and disinformation. (Read More on Arxiv)

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The Pushshift Reddit Dataset

Describes our dataset of Reddit's millions of subreddits, millions of users, and hundreds of millions of comments(Read More on Arxiv)

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Understanding Gray Networks using Social Media Data

Is it possible to understand the structure of a clandestine network, for example Proud Boys, using just their social media trace data? (Read More)

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Radical Right-Wing Women on Facebook

At what rates and in what capacity do women participate in extreme far-right ("radical right") political online communities? (Read More)

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Anti-Muslim Hate Network on Facebook

How do anti-Muslim political groups use the Facebook social network to build their own online communities? Do they crossover with other far-right political ideologies, such as anti-immigrant or white nationalists? (Read More)

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Analyzing the "Summer of Hate"

How "united" is the far-right? Which groups share members? Which ideologies tend to attract the same people? Which groups are responsible for uniting such distinct far-right ideologies at an event like the Charlottesville rally? (Read more)

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Rudeness on Linux

How do the leaders of the Linux Kernel project write in email? What are the salient features of their writing, and can we discern one leader from another? (Read more)

Current Projects

Here are some long-term projects I'm working on that have not yet been published.

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Broadcasting Hate: Understanding the Right-Wing Extremist Podcast Ecosystem

This project is a long-term study of several dozen extreme right-wing, racist podcasts. We build the network of guests and hosts, and show how the ecosystem grows and shifts over time.

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Funding Hate: Mapping the Network of Hate on Niche Payment Channels

This research re-creates the network of payments to extreme right-wing personalities using a popular video streaming service.

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Network and Text Analysis of Christian Identity Hate Groups

For this work we mine decades of Christian Identity historical documents to create a social network of key players. We then compare that to the current CI landscape on the social media platform Telegram.

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Entity Matching Social Media Users: A Machine-Learning Approach for Steam

In this project, we use a machine learning approach to predict the correct user identification for a prior user playing under a false identity.

Media Coverage

I've discussed my work on right-wing extremists and toxic online communities with numerous media outlets, including:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2014

  • Hearsay Culture Radio Show #224. Radio interview, pre-recorded. KZSU Stanford University 90.1 FM. November 13. (Data Mining.)

Other Writing and Appearances

I also blog as a Senior Fellow for the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR) where my work has been reposted in Rantt and Sage Ocean.

In addition to many research papers and articles for popular media, I have also written two books, Clean Data, and Mastering Data Mining with Python.