Heather Ford


I am a researcher, lecturer and writer thinking and writing about digital politics, charting how the Internet and digital platforms catalyse new forms of authority, power and politics. I am currently working as a Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales and my work is located at the intersection of the sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies and media and communication. With a background in internet rights and intellectual property reform, I now focus on implications for the increasing deployment of algorithms and automation to organise and construct knowledge about events, people, places and things.

My first book entitled “Fact Factories” (MIT Press, due 2020) follows the ways in which history is written as it happens on Wikipedia and about how facts travel through the infrastructure of the Internet. The book covers the story about the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was written about on Wikipedia starting from the first few hours of the first protests. The book is about how digital facts are constructed from multiple sources and how they then travel as data to other sites like search engines and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications.

I have published in a variety of channels including Big Data and Society, New Media and Society, the International Journal of Communications, Social Studies of Science and a number of Advanced Computer Machinery (ACM) journals. I am a founder editor of ethnographymatters.net and review articles for a number of journals and conferences in the fields of science and technology studies, media and communication.

I completed my DPhil (PhD) at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. I have a Masters in Information Management and Systems (MIMS) from the University of California, Berkeley iSchool and have worked as a fellow at Leeds University, Stanford University and as a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand LINK Center. Before my PhD I worked for a number of non-profit technology organisations including the Association for Progressive CommunicationsCreative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, iCommons, Privacy International and Ushahidi as an activist, researcher and project manager. I have been on the boards of the Wikimedia Foundation, iCommons and The African Commons Project where I worked towards the goal of fairer, more flexible intellectual property provisions for the Internet, particularly in developing countries.

Drop me a line! hfordsa at gmail dot com