Online Firestorms and Resentment Propagation on Social Media: Dynamics, Predictability and Mitigation

Project timeline

October 2019                                                                                                                                            September 2023

October 2019                                September 2023

Social media serves as a place to gather information, interact, and form opinions. More recently, online firestorms, fake news and hate speech have shaken our beliefs and hopes about the positive power of social media to their very foundations. While negative emotions are in the core of human behavior, algorithms on social media, enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) can produce and reinforce new dynamics.

In this project, we will address the mathematical modeling of the formation and dynamics of opinions in large groups of interacting people on social media. Our primary objective is to understand the driving factors of social media group level phenomena that lead to negative dynamics and to offer approaches on how to detect, react to, and possibly mitigate these dynamics early on. The fundamental goal is to reveal the possible relationship between the simple “social forces” acting at individual level, being the “first principles” of social interaction or the game rules, and the potential emergence of a global behavior.

The results of our study will provide insights of ethical relevance by discussing responsibility, delegation and control mechanisms in human-AI interacting systems.

Research Output:

Negative Dynamics on Social Media and their Ethical Challenges for AI

Are your Friends also Haters? Identification of Hater Networks on Social Media (Data Paper)

Advanced Statistical Analysis of large-scale Web-based Data

Against the Others! Detecting Moral Outrage in Social Media Networks

On the Global Convergence of Particle Swarm Optimization Methods (to appear as a preprint)

Q&A with the Researchers:

News & Updates

Principal Investigators


Prof. Dr. Massimo Fornasier, Department of Mathematics, TUM

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Pfeffer, TUM School of Governance, TUM


  • Raji Ghawi, Computer Science, TUM
  • Dr. Hui Huang, Department of Mathematics, TUM
  • Konstantin Riedl, Department of Mathematics, TUM
  • Dr. Mirco Schönfeld, Computer Science, TUM
  • Wienke Strathern, Philology, TUM