Computational Social Media Research Group

Interdisciplinary research at the intersection of computer science, social sciences & law

Our research groups contributes to the study of social media by bridging theoretical knowledge from law and social sciences with computational methods developed by computer science. Thematically, we focus on the growing importance of content creators as users of social media who make a living out of the content they develop. Also known as influencers, content creators belong to a volatile landscape where platforms dictate their reach through recommender systems, and monetization is based on metrics which are often gamed (e.g. fake followers, fake likes). In addition,  as a new wave of regulation in the EU and US will push platforms to take a more proactive role in content moderation in order to protect vulnerable audiences such as minors, it is unclear how platforms will apply these rules consistently and equally to all creators. New bodies such as the Facebook Oversight Board or the Twitch Safety Council have been set up to tackle such issues, but their impact remains to be established.

In this context, our research group focuses on understanding the issues that arise out of the monetization of influence on social media, including:

  • content monetization business models;
  • swarm bullying;
  • the monetization of political speech;
  • the digital enforcement of consumer protection rules relating to social media content.

Our thematic research group is affiliated with four research institutes and departments from Maastricht University.

Maastricht Law & Tech Lab

Faculty of Law


Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering

Faculty of Science and Engineering


Maastricht Working on Europe

Studio Europa


Institute of Data Science

Faculty of Science and Engineering

6 Researchers
5 Projects
5 Data sets
2 Publications


Browse through our projects for bibliography lists, data sets and analyses

Business Model Prevalence in Influencer Marketing on Instagram

This research project brings together expertise from NLP and EU consumer law to make a gap-filling contribution focused on determining which influencer marketing business models can be identified on Instagram, and how users perceive them.

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Influencers and Social Media Recommender Systems

This project looks into the factual practices of recommender systems affecting social media influencers on various platforms and answers the question of under which conditions these practices can be considered unfair in US law and EU law.

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Swarm bullying

This student research project focuses on the classification and feature extraction of hate speech comments and the detection of swarm behaviour on Youtube, based on an original data set created by collecting comments from influencer videos on YouTube covering different topics and channels.

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Instagram Influencer map (Romania)

This research project maps Instagram influencers from Romania with over 100k followers. It proposes a definition for the term ‘influencer’ and a labelling method.

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Public justice: Mining user opinions relating to content moderation

This project aims to use machine learning methods to analyse public reactions to content creators on Twitch and Youtube being banned from their respective platforms (or sanctioned in other ways) due to their controversial content.

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Influencer Law Clinic: Working Paper Series

The Working Papers are a collection of high-quality student research conducted by students affiliated with the Influencer Law Clinic.

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Latest from our blog


Twitter privileges of World leaders

On January 8th 2021, the social media platform Twitter decided to permanently suspend the realDonaldTrump account bringing about a new precedent regarding …

Read MoreTwitter privileges of World leaders

How the BetterHelp scandal changed our perspective on influencer responsibility

Co-authors: Florian Bachmann, Nahomi Deltombe Part 1: Introduction The global spend on Influencer marketing is expected to reach $15 Billions by 2022, and …

Read MoreHow the BetterHelp scandal changed our perspective on influencer responsibility

“Get the facts about freedom of speech and Twitter!”

In agony, many US citizens were awaiting the night of November 3rd when the first voting results for the US presidential election were …

Read More“Get the facts about freedom of speech and Twitter!”

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