Jonathan Corpus Ong

Associate Professor, Global Digital Media
Andrew Carnegie Fellow 2022 and Shorenstein Center Fellow 2020-2023
N354 Integrative Learning Center

Jonathan Corpus Ong (PhD, Cambridge) is Associate Professor of Global Digital Media at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. In 2020-2023, he is also Research Fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center for the Technology and Social Change Project. He was recently selected as one of 28 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Awardees (2022-2024).

Jonathan has published 3 books and over 25 journal articles in his research areas of global media ethics, digital politics, and the anthropology of humanitarianism. In his disinformation studies research, Jonathan uses ethnography to understand the social identities, work arrangements and moral justifications of "paid trolls" and political public relations strategists. An engaged researcher, Jonathan has a long record of working closely with humanitarian and human rights organizations. A popular media analyst, his “disinformation whistleblowers podcast” Catch Me If You Can, now in its second season, was ranked in Top 5% Most Followed Podcasts globally by Spotify in the year 2022.

His research has been funded by the Luminate Group, the Gates Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, among others.

Research interest: Media ethics, critical disinformation studies, global media studies, anthropology of humanitarianism and human rights, sociology of activist organizations, inter-ethnic racism and solidarities, politics in the global South.




PhD, Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK
MSc, Politics and Communication, London School of Economics, UK
BA, Communication, Loyola Schools - Ateneo de Manila, Philippines

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate: Intro to Media and Culture; Social Media in Everyday Life; Media Solidarities in the Age of Global Crisis
Graduate: Qualitative Methods; Tech Ethics and Media Justice

  1. Ong, J.C. (2022). Trolls for Sale. Manila, Philippines: Everything’s Fine Books.

  2. Rovisco, M. & Ong, J.C (eds). (2016). Taking the Square: Mediated Dissent and Occupations of Public Space. London & NY: Rowman & Littlefield.

  3. Ong, J.C. (2015). The Poverty of Television: The Mediation of Suffering in Class-Divided Philippines. London & NY: Anthem Press. 

Journal Special Issue Co-Editorships
  1. Ong, J.C. & Donovan, J. (eds.). (2023, forthcoming) Special Issue: "True Costs of Misinformation: Counting the Casualties of 'Fake News'". International Journal of Communication.

  2. Grohmann, R. & Ong, J.C. (eds). (2023, forthcoming). Special Issue: "Disinformation-for-Hire and Clickfarming around the World". Social Media + Society.

  3. Ong, J.C. & Negra, D (eds). (2020). Special Issue: "Intellectual and Institutional Turbulence in Media Studies: 20th Anniversary Issue of Television & New Media". Television & New Media 21: 6.

  4. Ong, J.C. & Rovisco, M (eds). (2019). Special Issue: Refugee Socialities and the Media. Popular Communication 17: 2.

Journal Articles
  1. Ong, J.C. (2022). “Philippine Elections 2022: The Dictator’s Son and the Discourse Around Disinformation”. Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia.December 2022 issue, pp. 396-403.

  2. Ong, J.C. & Tapsell, R. (2022). "Demystifying disinformation shadow economies: Fake News Work Models in Indonesia and the Philippines". Asian Journal of Communication 32(3): 251-267.

  3. Ong, J.C. (2021). "The Secondary Contagion of Stigmatization: Racism and Discrimination in the Pandemic Moment". Social Science Research Council Media Well. 

  4. Ong, J.C. & Negra, D. (2020). "The Media (Studies) of the Pandemic Moment: Introduction to the 20th Anniversary Special Issue". Television & New Media 21(6): 1-7.

  5. Ong, J.C. & Cabanes, J.V. (2019). “When Disinformation Studies Meets Production Studies: Social Identities and Moral Justifications in the Political Trolling Industry.” International Journal of Communication 13: 5771-5790.

Book Chapters
  1. Ong, J.C. & Lanuza, J.M. (2023, forthcoming). “The Perils of Platform Determinism: Reimagining Global South Disinformation Interventions”. In Tworek, H., Nyabola, N. & Owen, T. (eds.). Platform Governance in Global Context. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  2. Ong, J.C. (2022). "Political Trolls and the Global Digital Precariat". In Briers, A., Carah, N., & Arden, H. (eds.). Conflict in My Outlook. Queensland, Australia: Perimeter Books.

  3. Ong, J.C. (2021). “Ethnography in Humanitarian Communication.” In Chouliaraki, L. & Vestergaard, A. (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Humanitarian Communication. London & New York: Routledge.

  4. Ong, J.C. (2021). "The Political Trolling Industry in Duterte's Philippines: Everyday Work Arrangements of Disinformation and Extreme Speech". In Udupa, S., Gagliardone, I. & Hervik, P. [eds]. Digital Hate: Handbook on Extreme Speech. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Public Engagement
  1. Co-Host. Catch Me If You Can Podcast. (2 Seasons). Ranked in Top 5% of Most Followed Podcasts globally for the year 2022. Ranked in the Top 6 of Philippines overall podcast charts in May 2022. [Available here]

  2. “A Dictator's Son Wins in the Philippines”. Tech Policy Press: The Sunday Show. May 29, 2022. [Available here]

  3. The World Should Be Worried About a Dictator’s Son's Apparent Win in the Philippines. Time. May 10, 2022. [Read here]

  4. Pro-Marcos, Duterte accounts weigh in on Ukraine invasion, praise Putin and Duterte. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. March 4, 2022. [Read here]. 

  5. Building Comprehensive Approaches to Combating Disinformation in Illiberal Settings. National Endowment for Democracy Forum. December 2021. [Read here]

  1. Online Disinformation against AAPI Communities during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. October 19, 2021. [Read here]

Research Reports and Monographs
  1. Ong, J.C., Fallorina, R., Lanuza, J.M., Sanchez, F. & Curato, N. (2022). “Parallel Public Spheres: Influence Operations in the 2022 Philippine Elections”. Shorenstein Center. Harvard Kennedy School. [Read here

  2. Asian American Disinformation Table (2022). “Power, Platforms, Politics: Asian Americans and Disinformation Landscape Report”. [Read here].

  3. Ong, J.C., Tintiangko, J. & Fallorina, R. (2021). "Human Rights in Survival Mode: Developing New Narratives and Supporting Creative Workers in the Philippines". Shorenstein Center. Harvard Kennedy School. [Read here]

  4. Curato, N., Ong, J.C. & Tapsell, R. (2021). “’Thank You for Sharing’: A Deliberative Forum on Disinformation”. New Mandala. [Read here]

  5. Ong, J.C., & Cabanes, J.V.C. (2019). “Politics and Profit in the Fake News Factory: Four Work Models of Political Trolling in the Philippines.” NATO StratCom. [Read here]

  6. Ong, J.C., Tapsell, R. & Curato, N. (2019). “Tracking Digital Disinformation in the 2019 Philippine Midterm Elections.” New Mandala. [Read here]

  7. Ong, J.C. & Cabanes, J.V.C. (2018). “Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines.” Newton Tech4Dev Network. [Read here]

  8. Ong, J.C., Flores, J., & Combinido, P. (2015). Obliged to be Grateful: How Local Communities Experienced Humanitarian Actors in Typhoon Haiyan. Plan International. [Read here]

  9. Buchanan-Smith, M., Ong, J.C., & Routley, S. (2015). Who’s Listening? Accountability to Affected People in the Haiyan Response. Plan International.[Read here]

  1. Principal Investigator. “Global Democracy Frontliners.” Luminate Group. Research and Coalition-Building Grant. October 2022 to December 2023. (US$365,000).

  2. Co-Principal Investigator. Co-Insights: Creative Collaborations with Asian-American Community Media Fighting Misinformation. National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator Grant, October 2022 to September 2024. (US$570,000).

  3. Co-Investigator. “The Digital Good Network”. UK Economic and Social Research Council. October 2022 to September 2025. (UMass award: $105,000). 

  4. Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Awardee 2022 (one of 28 scholars selected in the United States). Project: Human Costs of Disinformation. September 2022 to August 2024. (US200,000).

  5. Co-Principal Investigator. "FACT-CHAMP: Monitoring Misinformation Targeting Asian-American and Pacific Islander Communities". National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator Grant, September 2021 to August 2022. (US$129,000). 

  6. Principal Investigator. "Social Media Influencers in Contexts of Medical Populism". Media Ecosystems Group / Gates Foundation. September 2021 to January 2022. (US$30,000).

Current Projects: 

Jonathan runs several active grants that support the research of several Ph.D. students at UMass Amherst. His community-engaged research entails collaborations with Asian-American community media exploring the digital politics of “Asian hate”, and partnerships with Philippines- and Brazil-based civil society groups. Together with Rafael Grohmann of DigiLabor/University of Toronto, he curates the series “South-to-South Learning Spaces vs Disinformation”.

Jonathan recently started new research on "networked conspirituality", which involves collaborating with an astrologer to produce resources that call out misinformation and conspiracy theory within astrology, tarot, and New Age online communities.

Jonathan is also the founder and convenor of the British Council-funded Newton Tech4Dev Network, which is a global network of academics, humanitarians, and technology experts, studying emergent media in low- and middle-income countries.