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Department of Communication and Media Research

Jing Zeng

Jing Zeng, Prof. Dr.

  • Professor of Computational Social and Communication Science
+41 44 635 20 59
Room number
AND 3.76

Curriculum Vitae


Jun. 2024   –  Present

Assistant Professor of Computational Communication Science
 University of Zurich, Switzerland

Oct. 2022  –  Jun. 2024

Assistant Professor of Digital Methods and Critical Data Studies
Utrecht University, Netherlands

Aug. 2018  –  Oct. 2022

Senior Research and Teaching Associate
University of Zurich, Switzerland

Fellowship Positions

Aug. 2021  –  Dec. 2023     

Affiliated researcher
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany

Sep. 2017 – Apr. 2018          

Visiting post-doc research fellow
Hans-Bredow-Institut, Germany

Leadership & Memberships in Editorial Boards and Research Networks

Since 2022

Since 2022

Since 2022

Since 2022

Since 2020

Since 2020

Co-editor of Big Data & Society

Co-editor of book series “Technology, Power & Society”, Brill

Editorial board member of Convergence

Editorial board member of Digital Journalism

Editorial board member of Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media

Founding member of TikTok Culture Research Network 


Apr. 2014 – Sep. 2017

Queensland University of Technology
PhD Media and Communication

Sep. 2012 – Aug. 2013        

Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford
MSc Social Science of the Internet

Sep. 2008 – Aug. 2012        

University of Nottingham
BA (first-class honours) International Communications

Publications: Edited Volumes, Research monograph

Huang, Q., Zeng, J., Tanaka, H., Shahin, S. (Eds., in progress). Negotiating Digital Visibility in Asia. In Convergence.

Nguyen, D., Zeng, J. &  Mutsvairo, B.  (Eds., in progress). Technology, Power & Society:  Global Perspectives on the Digital Transformation. Leiden: Brill.

Kaye, D.B.V., Zeng, J., & Wikström, P. (2022). TikTok: Creativity and Culture in Short Video. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Zeng, J., Mike S. Schäfer & Thaiane Oliveira (Eds., 2022). Conspiracy Theories in Digital Environments. In Convergence.

Zeng, J.,  Schäfer, M. S. & Abidin, C.  (Eds., 2021): Research Perspectives on TikTok & its Legacy Apps. In International Journal of Communication

Publications: Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Zeng, J., & Yan, X. (2024). Understanding climate-related visual storytelling on TikTok: A cross-national multimodal analysis. Journal of Digital Social Research, 6(2), 66-84.

Zeng, J., & Cheng, C. Y. (2024). Diasporic citizen journalism: Exploring the discussion on the 2022 blank paper protests in the Chinese twitter community. Journalism, 0(0).

Zeng, J., & Brennen, S. B. (2023). Misinformation. Internet Policy Review, 12(4).

Zeng, J., & Chan, C. H. (2023). Envisioning a more inclusive future for digital journalism: A diversity audit of journalism studies (2013–2021). Digital Journalism, 11(4), 609-629.

Mahl, D., Zeng, J., & Schäfer, M. S.(2023). Conceptualizing Platformed Conspiracism: Analytical Framework and Empirical Case Study of BitChute and Gab. New Media & Society.

Zeng, J. (2023). # LearnOnTikTok Serendipitously, # LearnOnTikTok Seriously. JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, 62(4), 174-180.

Chan, CH, Zeng, J.,  & Mike S. Schäfer (2022). Whose Research Benefits more from Twitter? The Twitter-worthiness of Communication Research and its Role in Reinforcing Disparities in the Field. PLoS One

Zeng, J., Schäfer, M. S., & Oliveira, T. M. (2022). Conspiracy theories in digital environments: Moving the research field forward. Convergence, 28(4), 929-939.

Schäfer, M. S., Mahl, D., Füchslin, T., Metag, J., & Zeng, J. (2022). From Hype Cynics to Extreme Believers: Typologizing the Swiss Population’s COVID-19-Related Conspiracy Beliefs, Their Corresponding Information Behavior, and Social Media Use. International Journal of Communication, 16, 26.

Zeng, J., & Kaye, D. B. V., (2022). From content moderation to visibility moderation: A case study of platform governance on TikTok. Policy & Internet, 14(1), 79-95.

Southwell, B. G., Brennen, J. S. B., Paquin, R., Boudewyns, V., & Zeng, J. (2022). Defining and Measuring Scientific Misinformation. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 700(1), 98–111.

Mahl, D., Schäfer, M.S., & Zeng, J. (2022). Conspiracy theories in online environments: An interdisciplinary literature review and agenda for future research. New Media & Society. Advance online publication.

Zeng, J., & Abidin, C. (2021) “#OkBoomer, time to meet the Zoomers”: Studying the Memefication of Intergenerational Politics on TikTok. Information, Communication & Society.  Advanced online publication.

Hendry, N. A., Tiidenberg, K., Abidin, C., Kaye, D. B. V., Zeng, J., Wikstrom, P., Bucher, T., Highfield, T., Leaver, T., & Qiu, J. L. (2021). PLATFORM SPECIFICITIES: THE PLATFORM BOOKS PANEL. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021.
Zeng, J., & Schäfer, M. S.(2021). Conceptualizing “Dark Platforms”. Covid-19-related Conspiracy Theories on 8kun and Gab. Digital Journalism, 9(9), 1208-1230,

Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2021). Subtle Asian Traits and COVID-19. First Monday, 26(7).

Zeng, J., Abidin, C. & Schäfer, M. S.(2021). Research Perspectives on TikTok & its Legacy Apps: Introduction. International Journal of Communication

Mahl, D., Zeng, J., & Schäfer, M. S. (2021). “From ‘Nasa lies’ to ‘reptilian eyes’: Mapping communication about ten conspiracy theories, their communities, and propagators on Twitter.” Social Media + Society.

Zeng, J., Schäfer, M. S., & Allgaier, J. (2021). Reposting “till Albert Einstein is TikTok famous”: The Memetic Construction of Science on TikTok. International Journal of Communication.

Hautea, S., Parks, P., Takahashi, B., & Zeng, J. (2021). Showing They Care (Or Don’t): Affective Publics and Ambivalent Climate Activism on TikTok. Social Media + Society.

Zeng, J., & Chan, CH. (2021), "A cross-national diagnosis of infodemics: comparing the topical and temporal features of misinformation around COVID-19 in China, India, the US, Germany and France", Online Information Review, ahead-of-print.

Zeng, J., Chan, CH., Schäfer, M. S. (2020). Contested Chinese Dreams of AI? Public discourse about Artificial intelligence on WeChat and People’s Daily Online. Information, Communication & Society.

Chan, CH., Zeng, J., Wessler, H., Jungblut, M., Welbers, K., Bajjalieh, J. W., ... & Althaus, S. L. (2020). Reproducible Extraction of Cross-lingual Topics (rectr). Communication Methods and Measures, 14 (4): 285-3051.

Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2020). Feeling Asian Together: Coping With #COVIDRacism on Subtle Asian Traits. Social Media + Society.

Kaye, D. B. V., Chen, X., & Zeng, J. (2020). The co-evolution of two Chinese mobile short video apps: Parallel platformization of Douyin and TikTok. Mobile Media & Communication.

Chen, X.,  Kay, D.B.V., & Zeng, J. (2020) #PositiveEnergy Douyin: constructing “playful patriotism” in a Chinese short-video application. Chinese Journal of Communication.

Persaud, C. J., Guarriello, N. B., Maris, E., Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2020). Racing the platform/platforming race. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research.

Xu, K., Liu, F., Mou, Y., Wu, Y.,  Zeng, J., & Schäfer, M. S. (2020) Using Machine Learning to Learn Machines: A Cross-Cultural Study of Users’ Responses to Machine-Generated Artworks. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.

Zeng, J. (2019). # MeToo as connective action: a study of the anti-sexual violence and anti-sexual harassment campaign on Chinese social media in 2018. Journalism practice, 1-20.

Zeng, J., Burgess, J., & Bruns, A. (2019). Is citizen journalism better than professional journalism for fact-checking rumours in China? How Weibo users verified information following the 2015 Tianjin blasts. Global Media and China, 4(1), 13–35.

Zeng, J., Chan, CH,  and Fu, KW. (2017). How social media construct “truth” around crisis events: Weibo's rumour management strategies after the 2015 Tianjin Blasts. Policy & Internet, 9(3), 297-320.

Fung, I.,  Zeng J., Chan CH, Liang H, Yin J, Liu Z, Tse ZTH, Fu KW (2017). Twitter and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, South Korea, 2015: a multi-lingual study. Infection, Disease & Health, 23(1), 10-16.

Zeng, J. (2015). How does information around acute events come into being on social media? JeDEM-eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 7(1), 72-98.

Zeng, J. (2014). Can Microblog based Political Discussion contribute to Public Deliberation in China? In CeDEM Asia 2014: Proceedings of Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government, 97-114.

Zeng, J. (2014). Information construction in crisis communication: Applying ANT to digital media environments. In CeDEM Asia 2014: Proceedings of Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government, 261-266.

Publications: Book Chapters

Brause, S. R., Zeng, J., Schäfer, M. S., & Katzenbach, C. (2023). Media representations of artificial intelligence: surveying the field. Handbook of Critical Studies of Artificial Intelligence, 277-288.

Zeng, J. (2021). Researching conspiracy theories using content analysis in the digital media environment. In F. Oehmer, S. H. Kessler, E. Humprecht, K. Sommer, & L. Castro Herrero (Eds). Handbook of Standardized Content Analysis: Applied Designs to Research Fields of Communication Science. Wiesbaden: Springer.

Zeng, J. (2020). 'Smart is the Nü (boshi) Sexy': How China's PhD women are fighting stereotypes using social media. In Warfield, K.,  Abidin C., and Cambre C. (eds). Mediated Interfaces: The Body on Social Media (pp. 159-173). London: Bloomsbury Academic

Zeng, J. (2019). You Say# MeToo, I Say# MiTu: China’s Online Campaigns Against Sexual Abuse. In Fileborn B., Loney-Howes R. (eds) # MeToo and the Politics of Social Change (pp. 71-83). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Publications: Conference Presentations

Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2023). East Asian Cultural Mediators on TikTok: Genres, Knowledge flows, and Internet Celebrity between Platform Markets. Paper presented at ICA 2023 Pre-conference: Digital Asia, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Zeng, J., & Yan, X. (2023). Understanding video memes: A case study of #cliamte content on TikTok. Paper presented at the 73rd Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), 25-29 May 2023, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Zeng, J., & Kaye, B. (2021). Visibility Governance on TikTok: From Content Moderation to Visibility Moderation. 2021 Digital Publics Symposium: Information Disorders. Digital Media Research Center, Australia. Link

Kaye, B., Zeng, J., Wikstrom, P. (2021). Platform Specificities: the Platform Books Panel. Association of Internet Research (AoIR) Conference 2021.

Zeng, J., & Schäfer MS (2021). Going to the Dark Side: investigating conspiracy theories around COVID-19 on dark platforms.  Paper presented at 71th International Communication Association Annual Conference.

Zeng, J., & Schäfer MS (2020). Teaching or trolling? A content analysis of science and pseudoscience memes on TikTok. Paper presented at 70th International Communication Association Annual Conference.

Kaye, B., Chen, X., & Zeng, J. (2020). Parallel Platform Governance of Douyin and TikTok. Presentation at Workshop on Empirical Approaches to Platform Governance. Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, Berlin Virtual Event. Link

Chan, C. H., Zeng, J., Wessler, H., Jungblut, M., Welbers, K., Bajjalieh, J., van Atteveldt, W., & Althaus, S. (2020). Reproducible Extraction of Cross-Lingual Topics Using R. Paper presented at 70th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual Conference [Top Paper, Computational Methods Interest Group]

Chan, C. H., Zeng, J., & Schäfer, M.S. (2020). Whose research benefits more from Twitter? A study of Twitter-worthiness of communication research. Paper presented at 70th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual Conference [Top extended abstract, Communication and Technology Division]

Zeng, J., Keller, T. R., Schäfer, Mike S.  (2019). Prevalence, Activity and Impact of Social Bots in Twitter Communication about Conspiracy Theories. Presented at AoIR conference 2019. Brisbane, Australia.

Wijermars, M., Puschmann C., & Zeng  J. (2019). News recommendation and source diversity on Russian news aggregators: Google News as the better alternative? Paper presented at 69th International Communication Association Annual Conference.

Slechten, L., & Zeng, J. (2018). Global diversity in search results: a socio-technical examination of Google, Baidu, and Yandex’ geopolitical search query results in the US, Western EU, India, China, and Russia. European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) 2018 Conference. Lugano, Switzerland.

Zeng, J. (2016) How is misinformation regulated on Chinese Social media. Presented in Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2018, Sydney, Australia.

Zeng, J., Chan, C.H., & Fu, K. W. (2016). Can online rumour be a social good in an authoritarian state? Presented at Internet Research Conference 2016, Berlin, Germany.

Zeng, J., Burgess, J., & Bruns, A. (2015). The challenges of Weibo for data-driven digital media research. Presented at Internet Research Conference 2015, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Publications: Keynotes

Zeng, J. (2024, April 24).  Activism and Polarization within the Chinese Digital Diaspora.  Keynote at International Symposium "Indicators of Social Cohesion in Social Media and Online Media. Hamburg, Germany. Link

Zeng, J. (2022, October 06). From parallel to divergent platformization: a methodological reflection on researching video memes on Douyin and TikTok. Keynote at ECREA pre-conference workshop on Visual Politics & Protest. Online.

Zeng, J. (2021, December 3). Researching misinformation on social media with a cross-platform perspective. Keynote at the Concepts of the Digital Society Conference. University of St.Gallen, Switzerland.

Zeng, J. (2021, February 2).  Contested Chinese Dreams of AI. Keynote at ‘AI Narratives in China’ organised by the Berggruen Center at Peking University & the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge (CFI). Online. Link

Publications: Invited Talks

Zeng, J. (2024, Janurary 26). 华语#键政#的暗平台化: 以推特上的中国时政讨论为例. 「華人社會的平台化:平台治理、勞工和未來」. Hong Kong.

Zeng, J. (2023, October 20). Sex, Lies, and Activism: Twitter as an alternative platform for the Chinese Digital Diaspora. Workshop: Alternative Platforms/Platform Alternatives.  Berlin, Germany.

Zeng, J. (2023, Oct 19). Data Labour in Platforms Governance, from social media to generative AI. Colloquium: Data Practices and Digital Social Worlds. Organised by Big Data & Society and the University of Cambridge.

Zeng, J. (2023, June 9).  Researching video memes. Invited talk at the Asian Studies International Association (ASIA)’s 2023 conference: Evolution of Media. Leiden, Netherlands.

Zeng, J. (2023, March 16).  “Parallel economy” on dark platforms. Invited talk at symposium: Radical Reforms - Bringing fairness to social media contracts. Utrecht, Netherlands. Link

Zeng, J. (2023, February 21). Understanding conspiracy theories in the digital media ecology. Leibniz Media Lecture. Hamburg, Germany. Link

Zeng, J. (2022, November 24). To Understand and Counteract Conspiracy Theories on Digital Platforms. Invited talk at Resilience League 2022, Tallinn, Estonia. Link

Zeng, J. (2022, May 19). Disinformation and Hate on the Internet. Invited talk at 3rd International Workshop for Women in Big Data. Zurich Switzerland. Link

Zeng, J. (2022, May 16). TikTok Book Roundtable. Invited panel talk, organised by the TikTok Cultures Research Network. Link

Zeng, J. (2022, May 13). Asian AI vs. European AI? Methodological Challenges of Cross-Cultural Research. Invited talk at AI and the Human Conference, Berlin, Germany.

Zeng, J. (2022, April 29). From Hard to Soft Content Moderation. Invited Talk at Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany.

Zeng, J. (2022, March 21). #LegitScience: challenges and opportunities in doing effective science communication on social media. Invited talk at RETHINK-TRESCA event: Connections, Conversations and Science Communication. Brussels, Belgium.

Zeng, J. (2021, December 13). ‘AI Imaginaries’ in the Chinese Context. Invited talk at the Berlin Research 50 Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Research. Berlin, Germany.

Zeng, J. (2021, September 24). Science Communication and misinformation online. Invited panel speaker at the Open Innovation in Life Sciences 2021Conference. Zurich, Switzerland.

Zeng, J. (2021, September 18). Local/Translocal: The Reproduction of Technological Promise. Invited talk at  London Chisenhale Gallery, UK.

Zeng, J. (2021, June 11). Citizen journalism in China. Invited talk at Global Media and China Webinar Series. Online.

Zeng, J.,  & Schäfer M. S  (2021, May 18). Covid-19 related conspiracy theories on social media. Invited talk at Jönköping University, Sweden.

Zeng J. (2018, December 11). The impact of the Social Credit System in China on non-Chinese societies. Invited talk at University of Oldenburg, Germany.

Zeng J. (2018, March 9). Ethics and dataveillance. Invited Talk at Aalborg University,  Denmark.   

Zeng J. (2018, March 7). Big data, big surveillance: China’s social credit system. Invited talk at IT University, Denmark.  

Zeng J. (2018, January 17). Distributed Surveillance: China’s rumour governance on social media. Invited talk at Hans Bredow Institute, Germany.

Publications: Media Commentaries

Zeng, J., & Mahl, D. (2023, April 14) The parallel economy: the rightwing movement creating a safe haven for deplatformed conservative influencers. The Conversation.

Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2021). The Conversation. ‘OK Boomer’: how a TikTok meme traces the rise of Gen Z political consciousness. Link

Zeng, J. (2020). Twitter has become a new battleground for China's wolf-warrior diplomats. The Guardian.  Link

Baker, A., Rodrigues, U., &  Zeng, J. (2020). The J Word: Can News Stop Sexual Violence? Link

Schäfer, M. S., & Zeng, J. (2020). 5G and the Virus: How science communication can challenge conspiracy theories in times of Covid-19. Elephant in the Lab. Link

Zeng, J. (2020). Sensationalist media is exacerbating racist coronavirus fears. We need to combat it. The GuardianLink

Zeng, J. (2018). From #MeToo to #RiceBunny: how social media users are campaigning in China. The Conversation. Link

Zeng, J. (2017). LGBTQ rights in mainland China looking gloomy after Taiwan’s new ruling on same-sex marriage. The ConversationLink

Zeng, J. (2017). Thinking of taking up WeChat? Here's what you need to know. The Conversation. Link

Zeng, J. (2016). Do moves against Hangzhou G20 'rumours' help show China at its best or worst? The Conversation. Link

Publications: Press Interviews

Bayerischer Rundfunk. Warum sich Desinformation auf TikTok so effektiv verbreitet (2023/06/16). Link

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (2023/01/28). Tiktok zeigt Jugendlichen gefährliche Inhalte – doch es ist schwierig, die Videos von der Plattform zu verbannen. Link

The Atlantic (2023/01/24). Twitter Has No Answers for #DiedSuddenly. Link

Science|Business (2022/03/29). How science can fight fake news. Link

Wired (2022/02/21). TikTok Wants Longer Videos—Whether You Like It Or Not. Link

20 Minuten (2022/02/25). Mit Fake-Livestreams aus der Ukraine profitieren Tiktoker von Spenden. Link

Weekendavisen (2021/12/03). I Kina siger de #MiTu. Link

Washington Post (2020/06/18). Video evidence of anti-black discrimination in China over coronavirus fears. Link

Wired (2019/01/21). The complicated truth about China's social credit system. Link

The Guardian (2018/06/27). China’s social credit system ‘could interfere in other nations’ sovereignty’. Link

Wired (2018/03/20). How Feminists in China Are Using Emoji to Avoid Censorship. Link

Awards & Scholarship










2009 – 2011

Teaching Award, Utrecht University

Outstanding Article Award Nomination, Digital Journalism

Teaching Award (Best Lecture), IKMZ, University of Zurich

Top 3 Finalist 2021 Bob Franklin Journal Article Award

ICA Communication & Technology Division Top Extended Abstract award

ICA Computational Methods Interest Group Top Paper award 2020

“Algorithmed Public Sphere” Fellowship, Hans-Bredow-Institut

QUT Postgraduate Award Scholarship, Queensland University of Technology

Hoare’s Family Scholarship, China Oxford Scholarship Fund

Provost’s Scholarship, University of Nottingham