by Swapneel


Swapneel Mehta

Postdoc at BU and MIT

Founder at SimPPL

Cambridge, MA


I am a Postdoctoral Associate jointly at Boston University and MIT and founder at SimPPL, researching platform governance, free speech, and democracy by modeling online marketplaces. I’m a Belfer Fellow at CTS, a Responsible Tech Affiliate at ATIH, and a Google Research Innovator. I got my Data Science Ph.D. at NYU primarily working at CSMAP, collaborating with folks at Oxford TVG and the Integrity Institute. My research deals with limiting disinformation on social networks using tools from machine learning and causal inference:

  1. Estimating the Causal Effects of Policy Interventions
  2. Auditing the Impact of Content Recommendation Algorithms
  3. Building Civic Integrity Tools for Practitioners and Policymakers

I’ve previously worked on data science and machine learning at Slack, Twitter Civic Integrity, Adobe Research, and on ML for particle physics at CERN.

I founded SimPPL (read: ‘sim people’), a research collective that builds better civic integrity tools such as Parrot Report. We’ve worked with The Sunday Times, Ippen Media, Deutsche Welle, the Yale Daily News, the Vermont Digger, and others on:

  1. Supporting newsrooms to better understand their audiences on social networks.
  2. Study the spread of unreliable news and identify influence operations online.

SimPPL has received support from the Wikimedia Foundation, Google, AWS, the NYC Media Lab, AI2Amplify (German Federal funding), and the NYU Tech Venture Workshop. It is materially supported by the One Fact Foundation and the AI4ABM Foundation at Oxford.

I mentored students and conducted collaborative research with Unicode Research. This team was born out of the parent org. I co-founded in 2017 to teach open-source development to undergrads, called DJ Unicode.




2019 - 2020

  • I’m a Data Science Research Intern at Adobe Research from May - Dec 2020 at the BEL Lab.
  • I’m grateful to have received the IRIS-HEP Fellowship, 2019
  • I launched Unicode Research
  • For published articles on technology look up my contributions to the Open Source for You (OSFY) Magazine

selected publications