Jing Zeng

Jing Zeng, Dr.

Oberassistentin / Senior Research and Teaching Associate

Phone: +41 44 635 20 54

Room number: AND 3.24


Curriculum Vitae

since Aug 2018

Senior Research and Teaching Associate

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Sep 2017 - Apr 2018 

Visiting Post-Doc Research Fellow

Hans-Bredow-Institut, Germany

Apr 2014 - Sep 2017

PhD Candidate and Teaching Academic

Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Sep 2012 - Aug 2013

MSc Social Science of the Internet, University of Oxford, UK

Sep 2008 - Aug 2012 BA International Communications (first-class honors), University of Nottingham, UK

Research Interests

  • Online misinformation, rumour, and conspiracy theories 
  • Science communication
  • Digital methods

Awards and Scholarships

2022 Outstanding Article Award Nomination, Digital Journalism 

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

2021 The 2021 SAGE HDR Publication Prize, Queensland University of Technology     
2021 Top 3 Finalist 2021 Bob Franklin Journal Article Award
2020 ICA Communication & Technology Division Top Extended Abstract award 
2020 ICA Computational Methods Interest Group Top Paper award 2020 
2017 “Algorithmed Public Sphere” Fellowship, Hans-Bredow-Institut
2014 QUT Postgraduate Award Scholarship, Queensland University of Technology
2012 Hoare’s Family Scholarship,  China Oxford Scholarship Fund
2009-2011 Provost’s Scholarship, University of Nottingham

Research Projects

Project name Science-related Conspiracy Theories Online [link]
Duration 2020-2023 
Funding body Swiss National Science Foundation 
Project name Imaginaries of Artificial Intelligence [link]
Duration 2021-2024
Funding body Swiss National Science Foundation & German Science Foundation

Memberships in editorial boards and research networks

Since 2022  

Editorial board member of Digital Journalism

Since 2020

Editorial board member of Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media

Since 2020

Founding member of TikTok Culture Research Network

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles & Conference Proceedings

  • Zeng, J. & Kaye, D. B. V., (2022). From content moderation to visibility moderation: A case study of platform governance on TikTok. Policy & Internet. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/poi3.287

  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221075759
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2021.1961007
  • Zeng, J. & Schäfer, M. S. (2021). Conceptualizing “Dark Platforms”. Covid-19-related Conspiracy Theories on 8kun and Gab. Digital Journalism. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2021.1938165
  • Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2021). Subtle Asian Traits and COVID-19. First Monday, 26(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i7.10859
  • Zeng, J., Abidin, C. & Schäfer, M. S.(2021). Research Perspectives on TikTok & its Legacy Apps: Introduction. International Journal of Communication.  https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/14539
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051211017482
  • 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. https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/14547
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051211012344
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-09-2020-0417
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2020.1776372
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/19312458.2020.1812555
  • Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2020). Feeling Asian Together: Coping With #COVIDRacism on Subtle Asian Traits. Social Media + Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120948223
  • Kaye, D. B. V., Chen, X., and  Zeng, J. (2020). The co-evolution of two Chinese mobile short video apps: Parallel platformization of Douyin and TikTok. Mobile Media & Communication. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050157920952120
  • Chen, X.,  Kay, D.B.V. & Zeng, J. (2020) #PositiveEnergy Douyin: constructing “playful patriotism” in a Chinese short-video application. Chinese Journal of Communication. https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2020.1761848
  • Persaud, C. J., Guarriello, N. B., Maris, E., Abidin, C., & Zeng, J. (2020). Racing the platform/platforming race. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11144
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2020.1835136
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1706622
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1177/20594364198341
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1002/poi3.155
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idh.2017.08.005
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.29379/jedem.v7i1.375
  • 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.

Edited Books & Volumes, Research Monographs & Book Chapters

  • Kaye, D.B.V., Zeng, J., & Wikström, P. (In press). TikTok: Creativity and Culture in Short Video. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Zeng, J., Schäfer, M.S., &  & Oliveira T. (Eds., in preparation). 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.
  • Kaye, D.B.V., Zeng, J., & Wikström, P. (Contracted). TikTok: Creativity and Culture in Short Video. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Zeng, J. (2022). Content Analysis in the Research Field of conspiracy theories in the digital media environment. In F. Oehmer, S. H. Kessler, E. Humprecht, K. Sommer, & L. Castro Herrero (eds), Standardisierte Inhaltsanalyse in der Kommunikationswissenschaft – Standardized Content Analysis in Communication Research. 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. 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. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_5
  • Zeng, J. (2018). Contesting rumours on social media during acute events: The 2014 Sydney siege and 2015 Tianjin blasts (Doctoral dissertation, Queensland University of Technology). https://eprints.qut.edu.au/115786/

Conference Presentations

  • 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.
  • Chan CH, 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 CH, Zeng J, Schäfer MS (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, CH.,  and Fu, KW. (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 in Internet Research Conference 2015, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 

Invited talks and Keynotes

  • Zeng. J. (2021, December 14). Imaginaries of AI in the Chinese context. Invited talk at Berlin Research 50 Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Research. Berlin, Germany.
  • 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, September 24). Science Communication and misinformation online. Invited 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. (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.
  • Zeng J. (2018, December 11). The impact of the Social Credit System in China on non-Chinese societies, University of Oldenburg, Germany. 
  • Zeng J. (2018, March 9). Ethics and dataveillance. Aalborg University,  Denmark.
  • Zeng J. (2018, March 7). Big data, big surveillance: China’s social credit system. IT University, Denmark.  
  • Zeng J. (2018, January 17). Distributed Surveillance: China’s rumour governance on social media. Hans Bredow Institute, Germany.

Media Commentaries

  • 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 Guardian.  [link]
  • 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 Conversation.  [link]
  • 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? [link]

Press Interviews

  • 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]


Conspiracy Theories in Digital Media
Duration: 2022 Spring
Course ID: 248-700a
Course Type: Master Research Seminar, IKMZ

Platforms and Society
Duration: 2021 Fall
Course ID: 254d003a
Course Type: Bachelor Lecture, IKMZ

Researching Misinformation on Digital Platforms
Duration: 2020 Fall
Course ID: 248-701a
Course Type: Master Research Seminar, IKMZ

Social Media Analytics
Duration:  2019, 2020 Spring semester
Course ID: 248b659a
Course Type: Master Programme, IKMZ

Digital platforms and society
Duration: 2019 Fall semester
Course ID: 254a654a
Course Type: Master Programme, IKMZ