Jeff Hancock Named Co-Director of the Cyber Policy Center and FSI Senior Fellow

(Originally published by the Stanford Cyber Policy Center on February 6, 2023)

The Stanford Cyber Policy Center (CPC), a joint initiative of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford Law School, is pleased to announce that Jeff Hancock, the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication, has been appointed the co-director of the center. He will co-direct the Cyber Policy Center with Nathaniel Persily, the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

Concurrent with his new appointment at the Cyber Policy Center, Hancock has also been named a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI).  He will continue in his previous roles at the center as the founding director of the Stanford Social Media Lab , and the faculty director at the Stanford Internet Observatory, helping to guide their research and scholarship. Hancock replaces Dan Boneh, former co-director of the CPC who will now co-direct a new CPC program on governance of the future web.

“Jeff’s expansive social science research on technology, social media, and the truth, as well as his strong network of colleagues here at Stanford and beyond, make him a perfect fit for his new leadership positions,” said Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute. “I’m grateful for all Jeff has contributed so far to FSI, and look forward to what he helps us achieve moving forward.”

Jenny Martinez, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School (SLS), added: “We are excited to welcome Jeff to CPC. His deep scholarship covering the impact of social media on our society will help inform and shape the important policy work SLS faculty and students conduct in partnership with CPC.”

Jeff is one of the nation’s top scholars studying the effect of social media on society. We are extremely fortunate to have him at Stanford and I look forward to working closely with him to direct the CPC.
Nathaniel Persily
James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Co-director CPC

“Jeff is one of the nation’s top scholars studying the effect of social media on society. We are extremely fortunate to have him at Stanford and I look forward to working closely with him to direct the CPC,” said Persily. “I also want to acknowledge the amazing work done by Dan Boneh, the previous co-director of the CPC, who will still be involved as a co-director of a new CPC program on governance of the future web. We hope Dan’s new role will allow us to build a bridge between CPC and the Stanford Center on Blockchain Technology, which Dan leads, so we can collectively grapple with questions of regulation and governance of decentralized technologies.”

Hancock is also known for his research on how people use deception with technology. His TED Talk on deception, The Future of Lying, has been watched over 1 million times, and his work on lying and technology is frequently featured in the media.

As the co-director of the Cyber Policy Center and an FSI senior fellow, Hancock said he hopes to connect the center with faculty across campus, especially in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and the departments of mechanical science and engineering, and computer science.

“I’m extremely excited about the advances of AI and communication and what the Cyber Policy Center has to say about that for society,” said Hancock. “The CPC is a dynamic group of people to work with right now, especially with all of the relevant topics we’re working on, from Ai and chat GPT to web 3 technology to misinformation and digital literacy.”

At Cornell, Hancock was a professor of information science and communication. Before earning his PhD in psychology at Dalhousie University, Canada, Hancock was a customs officer. He joined Stanford University in 2015, founding the Stanford Social Media Lab that same year.

About the Stanford Cyber Policy Center

The Cyber Policy Center is Stanford University’s research center for the interdisciplinary study of issues at the nexus of technology, governance and public policy focused on digital technologies that are impacting democracy, security, and geopolitics globally. The center connects academia, the legal and tech industry and civil society with policymakers around the country to address the most pressing cyber policy concerns. Through research, policy engagement, and teaching, the Cyber Policy Center works to bring cutting-edge solutions to national governments, international institutions, and industry.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

About the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is Stanford University’s hub for nonpartisan, interdisciplinary research, teaching, and policy impact in international affairs. Our mission is to produce world-class scholarship, prepare future leaders, and influence policymaking in pursuit of solutions to the most critical global issues. At FSI, leaders with deep experience in the highest levels of government collaborate with top academic scholars and a vibrant community of students, postdocs and staff. The largest of Stanford’s policy research institutes, FSI is a trusted convener of people and ideas across disciplines, building bridges among academia, government and industry.