Dr. Metzger’s research seeks to understand the individual and societal effects of using information and communication technology by studying the forces that shape people’s trust of and perceptions about online information. More specifically, her work employs quantitative social science methods to study the ways in which digital communication technologies challenge users’ ability to evaluate the credibility of information online and negotiate privacy decisions.


Dr. Metzger earned her doctorate from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and has been teaching at UCSB since 1998. She is also affiliated with the Center for Information, Technology and Society and the Center for Responsible Machine Learning at UCSB. Dr. Metzger’s research appears in the top journals in her discipline including, for example, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, New Media & Society, and Media Psychology as well as in interdisciplinary journals such as Science, Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, and Computers in Human Behavior. She has served on the editorial board of several disciplinary journals, including as Associate Editor for the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Dr. Metzger has also delivered numerous keynote speeches around the world on topics such as fake news and misinformation, and how people manage their privacy in online environments.

Download her co-edited books published by MIT Press here: Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility and Kids & Credibility: An Empirical Examination. A full list of Dr. Metzger’s research publications is available on Google Scholar.



Below is a list of selected publications within each of Dr. Metzger's main areas of research.

On Credibility:

Lazar, D., Baum, M., Benkler, J., Berinski, A., Greenhill, K., Menczer, F., Metzger, M., Nyhan, B., Pennycook, G., Rothchild, D., Schudson, M., Sloman, S., Sunstein, C., Thorson, E., Watts, D., & Zittrain, J. (2018). The science of fake newsScience, 359, 1094-1096.

Jiang, S., Metzger, M., Flanagin, A., & Wilson, C. (2020). Modeling and measuring expressed (dis)belief in (mis)informationProceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM’20), Vol. 14, pp. 315-326.

Metzger, M., Flanagin, A., Mena, P., Jiang,  S., & Wilson, C. (2021). From dark to light: The many shades of sharing misinformation online. Media and Communication, 9(1), 134-143.

Pasquetto, I. V., Swire-Thompson, B., Amazeen, M. A., Benevenuto, F., Brashier, N. M., Bond, R. M., ... & Yang, K. C. (2020). Tackling misinformation: What researchers could do with social media dataThe Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review.

Metzger, M. J., Hartsell, E. H., & Flanagin, A. J. (2020). Cognitive dissonance or credibility? A comparison of two theoretical explanations for selective exposure to partisan newsCommunication Research47(1), 3-28.

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2015). Psychological approaches to credibility assessment onlineThe handbook of the psychology of communication technology32, 445-466.

Metzger, M. J., Flanagin, A. J., & Medders, R. (2010). Social and heuristic approaches to credibility evaluation online. Journal of Communication, 60(3), 413-439.

Metzger, M. J. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the Web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(13), 2078-2091.

Metzger, M. J., Flanagin, A. J., Eyal, K., Lemus, D. R., & McCann, R. (2003). Credibility in the 21st century: Integrating perspectives on source, message, and media credibility in the contemporary media environment. In P. Kalbfleisch (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 27,(pp. 293-335). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

On Privacy:

Suh, J. J., Metzger, M. J., Reid, S. A., & El Abbadi, A. (2018). Distinguishing group privacy from personal privacy: The effect of group inference technologies on privacy perceptions and behaviorsProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction2(CSCW), 1-22.

Metzger, M. J., Wilson, C., & Zhao, B. Y. (2018). Benefits of browsing? The prevalence, nature, and effects of profile consumption behavior in social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication23(2), 72-89.

Suh, J., Metzger, M. J. (2018). Privacy heuristics on social network sites. Companion Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Work and Social Computing, Workshop on Networked Privacy. Vol. 2, pp. 1-5.

Metzger, M. J., & Suh, J. J. (2017). Comparative optimism about privacy risks on FacebookJournal of Communication67(2), 203-232.

Dienlin, T., & Metzger, M. J. (2016). An extended privacy calculus model for SNSs: Analyzing self-disclosure and self-withdrawal in a representative US sampleJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication21(5), 368-383.

On Internet and Media Effects:

Winter, S., Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2016). Selective use of news cues: A multiple-motive perspective on information selection in social media environmentsJournal of Communication66(4), 669-693.

Metzger, M.J. (2009). Media effects in the era of Internet communication. In R. Nabi & M. B. Oliver (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Media Processes and Effects. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Chaffee, S. H., & Metzger, M. J. (2001). The end of mass communication? Mass Communication and Society, 4(4), 365-379.


Ph.D. (1997), Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Communication Theory and Research

Research Topic(s)