Miriam Metzger

Comm & Info Technologies

Contact Phone


Office Location

SSMS 4133


Social Uses and Effects of Communication Technology; Privacy; Credibility of Digital Information 


Ph.D. Annenberg School for Communication, USC, 1997


Professor Metzger’s research interests lie at the intersection of media, information technology, and trust, centering on how information and communication technologies (ICTs) alter our understandings of credibility, privacy, and the processes of media effects. Her work examines questions about how ICTs challenge traditional notions of trust, with a focus on the credibility of information online and on how users of digital media negotiate privacy and disclosure decisions in light of these challenges to trust. She has also published work examining the impact of media messages on public opinion, and on the social, theoretical, and regulatory changes brought about by digital information and communication technologies.

Dr. Metzger has published widely in the field of Communication. Her work appears in such journals as Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Mass Communication & Society, Communication Yearbook, New Media & Society, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Media Psychology, Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, Computers & Education, Computers in Human Behavior, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication Research Reports, Journal of Health Communication, and Information, Communication & Society. In addition, Dr. Metzger has published several book chapters and co-edited two volumes, including Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility (MIT Press) and Kids & Credibility: An Empirical Examination (MIT Press). She is currently Associate Editor for the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Dr. Metzger serves as the Ph.D. Emphasis Director of the Center for Information, Technology and Society (CITS-UCSB), where she is also is a faculty affiliate. She was the Associate Director and the Director of Education at the Center for Nanotechnology and Society (CNS-UCSB), the only NSF-designated National Center to focus on social science research. Dr. Metzger is a faculty affiliate of the Carsey-Wolf Center at UCSB as well. 


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

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 news. Science, 359, 1094-1096.

Metzger, M. J., Hartsell, E., & Flanagin, A. J. (2015). Cognitive dissonance or credibility? A comparison of two theoretical explanations for selective exposure to biased news content. Communication Research. Prepublished November 26, 2015, DOI: 10.1177/0093650215614365

Nekmat, E., Gower, K., Zhou, S., & Metzger, M. J. Connective-collective action on social media: Moderated mediation of cognitive elaboration and perceived source credibility on personalness of source. Communication Research. Prepublished October 12, 2015, DOI:10.1177/0093650215609676

Metzger, M. J., Flanagin, A. J., Markov, A., Pure, R., & Bulger, M.  (2015). Believing the unbelievable: Understanding young people’s information literacy beliefs and practices in the United States. Journal of Children and Media, 9, 325-348.

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2015).  Psychological approaches to credibility assessment online. In S. S. Sundar (Ed.), Handbook of the Psychology of Communication Technology (pp. 445-466).  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Metzger, M. J., Flanagin, A. J., & Nekmat, E. (2015). Comparative optimism in online credibility evaluation among parents and children.  Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 59(3), 509-529.

Bulger, M. E., Mayer, R. E., & Metzger, M. J. (2014). Knowledge and processes that predict proficiency in digital literacy. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27, 1567-1583.

Hocevar, K., Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2014).  Social media self-efficacy and information evaluation online.  Computers in Human Behavior, 39, 254-262.

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2014). Digital media and perceptions of source credibility in political communication. In K. Kenski & K. H. Jamieson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication. Oxford Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199793471.013.65

Flanagin, A. J., Metzger, M. J., Pure, R., Markov, A., & Hartsell, E. (2014). Mitigating risk in ecommerce transactions: Perceptions of information credibility and the role of user-generated ratings in product quality and purchase intention.  Electronic Commerce Research, 14, 1-23. 

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2013). Trusting expert- versus user-generated ratings online: The role of information volume, valence, and consumer characteristics. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1626-1634. 

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2013). Credibility and trust of information in online environments: The use of cognitive heuristics. Journal of Pragmatics, 59, 210-220.

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2013). The special case of youth and digital information credibility. Folk, M., & Apostel, S. (Eds.), Online credibility and digital ethos: Evaluating computer-mediated communication. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Hartsell, E., Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2012). Contemporary news production and consumption: Implications for selective exposure, group polarization, and credibility. In B. St. John & K. Johnson (Eds.), News with a view: Journalism beyond objectivity. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press.

Pure, R., Markov, A., Mangus, M., Metzger, M. J., Flanagin, A. J., & Hartsell, E. (2012). Understanding and evaluating source expertise in an evolving media environment In T. Takeseva (Ed.), Social software and the evolution of user expertise: Future trends in knowledge creation and dissemination. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2011). From Encyclopedia Brittanica to Wikipedia: Generational differences in the perceived credibility of online encyclopedia information. Information, Communication & Society, 14(3), 355-374.

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

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2010).  Kids and credibility: An empirical examination of youth, digital media use, and information credibility.  Cambridge: MIT Press.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2010). The perceived credibility of online encyclopedias among children. Proceedings of the Fourth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 239-242.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2008). The credibility of volunteered geographic information. GeoJournal, 72, 137-148.

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (Eds.) (2008). Digital media, youth, and credibility. Cambridge: MIT Press.

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.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2007). The role of site features, user attributes, and information verification behaviors on the perceived credibility of web-based information. New Media & Society, 9(2), 319-342.

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.

Metzger, M. J., Flanagin, A. J., & Zwarun, L. (2003). College student Web use, perceptions of information credibility, and verification behavior. Computers & Education, 41, 271-290.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2003). The perceived credibility of personal Web page information as influenced by the sex of the source. Computers in Human Behavior, 19, 683-701.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2000). Perceptions of Internet information credibility. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 77, 515-540.

On Privacy:

Metzger, M. J., Zhao, B. Y., & Wilson, C. (2018). The prevalence, nature, and effects of profile consumption behavior in social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 23, 72-89. 

Metzger, M. J., & Suh, J. Y. (2017). Comparative optimism about privacy risks on Facebook. Journal of Communication, 67, 203-232.

Dienlin, T., & Metzger, M. J. (2016). An extended privacy calculus model for SNSs: Analyzing self-disclosure and self-withdrawal in a representative U.S. sample. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 21, 368-383. 

Grossman, R., & Metzger, M. J. (2015, May). Privacy expectations in online contexts: A new approach for the legal protection of privacy. International Communication Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Metzger, M. J., Wilson, C., Pure, R., & Zhao, Y. B. (2012). Invisible interactions: What latent social interaction can tell us about social relationships in social networking sites. In F. Communello (Ed.), Networked sociability and individualism: Technology for personal and professional relationships (pp. 78-102). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Metzger, M. J. (2009). Privacy 2.0: Privacy Management in Social Networking Sites. Faculty Lecture Series, Center for Information Technology & Society, UCSB. Powerpoint Presentation

Metzger, M. J. (2007). Communication privacy management in electronic commerce. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2).

Metzger, M. J. (2006). Effects of site, vendor, and consumer characteristics on Web site trust and disclosure. Communication Research, 33(3), 155-179.

Metzger, M. J. (2004). Exploring the barriers to electronic commerce: Privacy, trust, and disclosure online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 9(4).

Metzger, M. J. (2004). Never the Twain Shall Meet? Public Opinion and Policy Initiatives for Online Privacy Protection. Faculty Lecture Series, Center for Information Technology & Society, UCSB.

Metzger, M. J., & Docter, S. (2003). Public opinion and policy initiatives for online privacy protection. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 47(3), 350-374.

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 environments.  Journal of Communication, 66, 669-693.

Metzger, M. J. (2014). Broadcasting versus Narrowcasting: Do mass media exist in the 21st century?  In K. Kenski & K. H. Jamieson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication. Oxford Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199793471.013.62

Riddle, K., Potter, W. J., Metzger, M. J., Nabi, R., & Linz, D. (2011). Beyond cultivation: exploring the effects of frequency, recency, and vivid autobiographical memories for violent media. Media Psychology, 14(2), 168-191.

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.

Flanagin, A. J., Farinola, W. J. M., & Metzger, M. J. (2000). The technical code of the Internet / World Wide Web. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17, 409-428.

Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2002). Audience orientations toward new media. Communication Research Reports, 19, 338-351.

Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2001). Internet use in the contemporary media environment. Human Communication Research, 27, 153-181.

Metzger, M. J. (2000). When no news is good news: Inferring closure for news issues. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 77(4), 760-787.

Eyal, K., Metzger, M., Lingsweiler, R. W., Mahood, C., & Yao, M. (2006). Aggressive political opinions and violent media exposure. Mass Communication & Society, 9(4), 399-428.

Zwarun, L., Linz, D., Metzger, M. J., & Kunkel, D. (2006). Effects of showing risk in beer commercials to young drinkers. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(1), 52-77.

Lemus, D., Seibold, D. R., Flanagin, A. J., & Metzger, M. J. (2004). Argument and decision making in computer-mediated groups. Journal of Communication, 54, 302-320.

Major Research Grants:

National Science Foundation. “Towards Automating Privacy Controls for Online Social Networks.” PIs: Ben Zhao & Miriam Metzger

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. "Internet Credibility and the User: Helping People Navigate Information in the Digital World" PIs: Miriam Metzger & Andrew Flanagin
Press Release

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. “Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media, and Information Credibility” PIs: Andrew Flanagin & Miriam Metzger
Press Release



Current courses:

  • COMM 87 Statistical Analysis for Communication
  • COMM 134 Issues in Mass Communication
  • COMM 170 Communication Law
  • COMM 174 Freedom of Communication
  • COMM 204B Applied Research Methods in Communication
  • COMM 213 Media Effects