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Ben Zefeng Zhang

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI), co-advised by Dr. Oliver Haimson and Dr. Michaelanne Thomas, and a research fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society

I use ethnographic methods to study the interplay among labor, identity, mobility, and infrastructure in transnational contexts informed by the fields of HCI (Human-computer interaction),  Science and Technology Studies (STS) and ICTD (Information Communication Technologies & Development). ​


Currently, I am conducting multi-sited ethnographic research for my dissertation in China. It explores the sociotechnical, cultural, and economic dimensions of data production and data marketplaces in the context of large-scale data infrastructures and ways to improve technology design and policy for digitally-mediated labor communities.


My work has appeared at venues including ACM CSCW CHI, AAAI ICWSM, Social Media + Society, 4S, and AoIR. I have received prestigious fellowships from the Rackham Graduate School, the International Institute, and the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan


Before graduate school, I worked for a few years as a journalist and photographer. I enjoy cycling, swimming, running, yoga, and scuba diving. Please feel free to contact me directly.

Research areas:

  • Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing

  • Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

  • Information Communication Technologies & Development (ICTD)

  • Labor, Mobility, and Infrastructure

  • Data production and marketplace

  • ​Platform and data governance

Recent News:

Paper accepted for ICWSM 202​4 

"Landscape of Large Language Models in Global English News: Topics, Sentiments, and Spatiotemporal Analysis," a paper I co-authored with Lu Xian, Lingyao Li, Yiwei Xu, and Libby Hemphill, has been accepted by ICWSM 2024March 15, 2024

Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship

I am really honored to be selected to receive the prestigious  Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan to support my dissertation! March 8, 2024

Paper accepted for CSCW 202​4 

"'I'm Constantly in This Dilemma': How Migrant Technology Professionals Perceive Social Media Recommendation Algorithms,"  a paper I co-first-authored with Cassidy Pyle and co-authored with Oliver Haimson and Nazanin Andalib, has been accepted by CSCW 2024December 10, 2023

View archived news items here.

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