About J. Nathan Matias


Dr. J. Nathan Matias (@natematias) is a computer scientist and social scientist who organizes citizen behavioral science for a safer, fairer, more understanding Internet. A Guatemalan-American, Nathan is founder of the Citizens and Technology Lab, an assistant professor in the Cornell University Department of Communication, and field member in Information Science.

J. Nathan Matias

Nathan is founder of the Citizens and Technology Lab, a public-interest research group at Cornell that organizes citizen behavioral science and behavioral consumer protection research for digital life. CAT Lab has worked with communities of tens of millions of people on reddit, Wikipedia, and Twitter to test ideas for preventing harassment, broadening gender diversity on social media, responding to human/algorithmic misinformation, managing political conflict, and auditing social technologies.

Nathan is also a pioneer in industry-independent evaluations on the impact of social technologies and artificial intelligence in society. Toward this end, he co-founded the Coalition for Independent Technology Research, a nonprofit that supports and defends independent research on technology and society.

Nathan has also held positions at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy, and the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. Nathan did his PhD at the MIT Center for Civic Media and MIT Media Lab. Before MIT, Nathan worked in tech startups that have reached hundreds of millions of phones, helped start a series of education and journalistic charities, and studied English/postcolonial literature at the University of Cambridge and Elizabethtown College.

Nathan has received numerous honors in academia, industry, journalism, and nonprofits. In 2023, he was awarded the Mozilla Rise25 award for research and policy work for a fairer, more ethical Internet. He is recipient of the Nelson Award from the Association for Computer Machinery and the Linda Tischler Award from FastCompany, where his work has been honored twice in the Innovation by Design awards. He has held scholarships and fellowships at the Aspen Institute, St John’s College Cambridge, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Einhorn Center at Cornell. Matias has also received several awards for nonfiction writing and documentary media.

Nathan’s journalism has been published in The Atlantic, PBS, the Guardian, FiveThirtyEight, Global Voices, Boston Magazine, Adventure Cyclist, and other international media. His work is regularly covered by international media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR All Things Considered, WIRED, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Boston Globe, Canadian Broadcasting Company, FastCompany, Fortune, Chronicle of Higher Education, Nieman Journalism Review, and the Columbia Journalism Review, to name a few.

When not doing research, teaching, and organizing, Nathan enjoys reconnecting with his indigenous heritage, cycling, sailing, facilitating gatherings for creative learning, having conversations about technology and faith, and working on projects that make you laugh, then think.

J. Nathan Matias