We are only beginning to understand the role social media plays in the spread and proliferation of violence. The SAFElab directed by Dr. Desmond Patton and housed in Columbia University’s School of Social Work, is a research initiative seeking to understand the intersections of social media, violence, and artificial intelligence. Using a case example from Chicago, this talk explores 1) the complexity of interpreting social media data and the Contextual Analysis of Social Media (CASM) approach, 2) utilizing social media data to inform computational tool development, 3) ethical considerations involved in the interpretation of social media content, and 4) social media simulation education tools.

William R. Frey (he/they) is a doctoral student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, the coordinator of the SAFElab, and a researcher in the Cogburn Research Group. His research focuses on race and whiteness within the context of digital technoculture and the individual and collective role of white people in the perpetuation of socio-technological systems of domination and power (e.g., digital racism). He has expertise in contextual analysis of social media, social media data ethics, and community/domain expert involvement in computational mixed methods research. William received his M.S.W. in community organizing from the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work.