Dr. Jing Zeng is Assistant Professor of Digital Methods and Critical Data Studies at Utrecht University. Her research concerns the sociocultural implications of digital technologies, with a particular focus on developing innovative digital methods for empirical research. Jing has written extensively on digital media platforms, around topics of misinformation, youth culture and online activism. Before joining Utrecht University, she was Senior research and teaching associate at the University of Zurich. She received her PhD from the Digital Media Research Center (DMRC) at the Queensland University of Technology, and her MSc from the Oxford Internet Insitute. She is also an affiliated researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany.


Academic appointments

Utrecht University, Netherlands

Date started and finished:  October 2022  –  present 

Position: Assistant Professor of Digital Methods and Critical Data Studies

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Date started and finished:  August 2018  –  October 2022

Position: Senior research and teaching associate 

Leibniz Institute for Media Research, Germany

Date started and finished:  September 2017 – April 2018

Position: Visiting post-doc research fellow


Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Date started and finished:  May 2014 – August 2017

Position: PhD Candidate and teaching academic 


Memberships in editorial boards and research networks 

Since 2023      Co-editor of the Brill Book Series: Technology, Power & Society 

Since 2022       Co-editor of Big Data & Society

Since 2022       Editorial board member of Convergence

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  [link]



Book and Edited Volumes

  • Kaye, DBV, Zeng, J., & Wikstrom, 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, MS & Abidin, C. (Eds., 2021): Research Perspectives on TikTok & its Legacy Apps. In International Journal of Communication.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Zeng, J.  & Chan CH (2023).Envisioning a more inclusive future for Digital Journalism: A diversity audit of journalism studies (2013–2021). Digital Journalism. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2023.2182803
  • Mahl, D., Zeng, J. & Schäfer, M. S.(2023). Conceptualizing Platformed Conspiracism: Analytical Framework and Empirical Case Study of BitChute and Gab. New Media & Society. Accepted.
  • Zeng, J. (2023).  #LearnOnTikTok Serendipitously, #LearnOnTikTok Seriously. Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 63(4): 174-180. link
  • Brause, S. R., Zeng, J.,  Schäfer M. S. &  Katzenbach, C. (2023). Media Representations of Artificial Intelligence, Surveying the Field. in Lindgren, Simon (Ed.): Handbook of Critical Studies of Artificial Intelligence. Accepted.
  • Zeng, J., Schäfer, MS, & Oliveira, TM (2022). Conspiracy theories in digital environments: Moving the research field forward. Convergence 28(4) 929-939. 10.1177/13548565221117474
  • Chan, CH., Zeng, J.  & Schäfer, M. S. (2022). Whose Research Benefits more from Twitter? The Twitter-worthiness of Communication Research and its Role in Reinforcing Disparities in the Field. PLoS One. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0278840
  • Schäfer, MS, 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. https://doi.org/10.1002/poi3.287
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1177/00027162221084709
  • Mahl, D., Schäfer, MS, & Zeng, J. (2022). Conspiracy theories in online environments: An interdisciplinary literature review and agenda for future research. New Media & Society.  https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221075759
  • Zeng, J. (2022). Researching conspiracy theories using content analysis in the digital media environment. In F. Oehmer, SH 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. & 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
  • Hendry, N.A., Tiidenberg, K., Abidin, C., Kaye, DBV, Zeng, J., Wikstrom, P., Bucher, T., Highfield, T., Leaver, T., & Qiu, JL (2021). PLATFORM SPECIFICATIONS: THE PLATFORM BOOKS PANEL. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12115
  • Zeng, J. & Schäfer, MS (2021). Conceptualizing “Dark Platforms”. Covid-19-related Conspiracy Theories on 8kun and Gab. Digital Journalism 9 (9): 1208-1230, 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, MS(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. and 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 or 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, JW, ... & Althaus, SL (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, DBV, 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, DBV & 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, CJ, 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, MS (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. (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). # 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. (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, Ham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_5
  • Zeng, J., Chan, CH, and Fu, KW. (2017). How social media construct “truth” around crisis events: Weibo's rumor 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.

Media commentaries

  • Abidin, C. & Zeng, J. (2021). ‘OK Boomer’: how a TikTok meme traces the rise of Gen Z political consciousness. The Conversation.
  • Zeng, J. (2020). Twitter has become a new battleground for China's wolf-warrior diplomats. The Guardian.  
  • Baker, A., Rodrigues, U., &  Zeng, J.  (2020). The J Word: Can News Stop Sexual Violence?
  • 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.
  • Zeng, J. (2020). Sensationalist media is exacerbating racist coronavirus fears. We need to combat it. The Guardian.  
  • Zeng, J. (2018). From #MeToo to #RiceBunny: how social media users are campaigning in China. The Conversation.
  • Zeng, J. (2017) LGBTQ rights in mainland China looking gloomy after Taiwan’s new ruling on same-sex marriage. The Conversation.
  • Zeng, J. (2017) Thinking of taking up WeChat? Here's what you need to know. The Conversation.
  • Zeng. J. (2016) Do moves against Hangzhou G20 'rumours' help show China at its best or worst? The Conversation

Media Interviews

  • Neue Zürcher Zeitung (2023/01/28). Tiktok zeigt Jugendlichen gefährliche Inhalte – doch es ist schwierig, die Videos von der Plattform zu verbannen
  • The Atlantic  (2023/01/24). Twitter Has No Answers for #DiedSuddenly
  • Science|Business (2022/03/29). How science can fight fake news
  • Wired (2022/02/21) TikTok Wants Longer Videos—Whether You Like It Or Not
  • 20 Minuten (2022/02/25)  Mit Fake-Livestreams aus der Ukraine profitieren Tiktoker von Spenden
  • Weekendavisen (2021/12/03) I Kina siger de #MiTu
  • The Washington Post (2020/06/18) Video evidence of anti-black discrimination in China over coronavirus fears
  • Wired (2019/01/21) The complicated truth about China's social credit system
  • The Guardian (2018/06/27) China’s social credit system ‘could interfere in other nations’ sovereignty’
  • Wired (2018/03/20) How Feminists in China Are Using Emoji to Avoid Censorship

Keynotes and invited talks

  • 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. (2022, May 16). TikTok Book Roundtable. Invited panel talk, organised by the TikTok Cultures Research Network.
  • 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, 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 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. (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. Invited talk at the 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. 

Awards & Scholarship 

  • 2022  Outstanding Article Award Nomination, Digital Journalism
  • 2021 Teaching Award (Best Lecture), IKMZ, University of Zurich  
  • 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