photo of Jane smiling at a beach

I am currently researching how we can design and build safer social platforms from a feminist point of view. Non-consensual interactions are pervasive in current online social spaces (e.g., online harassment and abuse, revenge porn). With a long-term goal of designing a safer future internet, I build consentful socio-technical systems: systems that only allow interpersonal interactions that people consent to.

I enjoy combining theory and system-building for my research to tackle the question "How can we build a future internet that is safe and empowering for everyone, including marginalized populations?" Recently, I wrote a paper on using affirmative consent, an idea developed by feminists to theorize and prevent sexual assault, to understand and reimagine social platforms (accepted to CHI 2021). I'm now focusing on building systems based on the design ideas derived from the theoretical insights.

My general interests lie in Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing. I'm a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan School of Information and Computer Science & Engineering, combining Computer Science and Information for my Ph.D. degree. I am luckily advised by Eric Gilbert. :-)



  • 01/22/2021: Gave a seminar talk at Seoul National University "Reimagining and building social platforms grounded in consent," hosted by Professor Hwajung Hong. :)
  • 12/12/2020: Our paper on understanding and reimagining social platforms using the feminist theory of affirmative consent got accepted to CHI 2021! So excited! 😄
  • 12/11/2020: I have been accepted to UMich's CSE department. I will be combining Information and Computer Science & Engineering for my PhD.
  • 11/02/2020: I will be working as a research intern at Facebook next summer!
  • 10/22/2020: Gave a guest lecture in CS 598 (CS course at UIUC) about building social platforms grounded on consent. It was super fun! :)
  • 07/10/2020: Our WebSci 2020 paper on identifying Russian trolls on Twitter won Best Paper Runner Up Award!
  • 06/01/2020: Safely submitted a full paper to CSCW 2020 and started my internship with Dr. Jill Dimond at Sassafras Tech Collective!
  • 05/01/2020: I wrote a blog post about our recent CHI 2020 paper which was also featured in The Startup.
  • 04/10/2020: Our paper on detecting Russian trolls on Twitter got accepted to WebSci 2020. Shoutout to my wonderful collaborators! :-)
  • 02/28/2020: Our position paper "Building Social Platforms around Affirmative Consent" got accepted to CHI 2020 workshop Moving Forward Together: Effective Activism For Change.
  • 12/09/2019: Our paper on synthesized social signals (S3s) got conditionally accepted to CHI 2020. Huge thanks to my collaborators!
  • See all updates :-)


Refereed Conference Papers / Refereed Journal Articles

Yes: Affirmative Consent as a Theoretical Framework for Understanding and Imagining Social Platforms
Jane Im, Jill Dimond, Melody Berton, Una Lee, Katherine Mustelier, Mark Ackerman, Eric Gilbert
( full paper @ CHI 2021 )
Affirmative consent is the idea that someone must ask for, and earn, enthusiastic approval before interacting with someone else. For decades, feminist activists and scholars have used affirmative consent to theorize and prevent sexual assault. In this paper, we introduce the five principles of affirmative consent: affirmative consent is voluntary, informed, specific, revertible, and unburdensome. We show how these principles can 1) theoretically explain a wide range of problematic phenomena in social platforms (e.g., online harassment, revenge porn) and 2) generate new design ideas for consentful socio-technical systems.
(This paper builds on Una Lee's wonderful work on consentful technologies.)
preprint - project website

Synthesized Social Signals: Computationally-Derived Social Signals from Account Histories
Jane Im, Sonali Tandon, Eshwar Chandrasekharan, Taylor Denby, Eric Gilbert
( full paper @ CHI 2020 )
Social signals are crucial when we decide if we want to interact with someone online. However, social signals are limited to the few that platform designers provide, and most can be easily manipulated. We propose a new idea called synthesized social signals (S3s): social signals computationally derived from an account’s history and then rendered into the profile. By developing and deploying a Chrome extension called Sig, we show that S3s can reduce receiver costs and raise the cost of faking signals.
paper - blog post - CHI slides - Reddit post

Still Out There: Modeling and Identifying Russian Troll Accounts on Twitter
Jane Im, Eshwar Chandrasekharan, Jackson Sargent, Paige Lighthammer, Taylor Denby, Ankit Bhargava, Libby Hemphill, David Jurgens, Eric Gilbert
( full paper @ WebSci 2020 ) Best Paper Runner Up Award
There is evidence that Russia’s Internet Research Agency attempted to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election by running fake accounts on Twitter—often referred to as “Russian trolls”. In this work, we: 1) develop machine learning models that predict whether a Twitter account is a Russian troll within a set of 170K control accounts; and, 2) demonstrate that it is possible to use this model to find active accounts on Twitter still likely acting on behalf of the Russian state.
paper - blog post

Deliberation and Resolution on Wikipedia: A Case Study of Requests for Comments
Jane Im, Amy X Zhang, Christopher J Schilling, David Karger
( full paper @ CSCW 2018 )
Request for Comment (RfC) is a system within Wikipedia for inviting new inputs to help resolve an ongoing content dispute.
We researched on preventing stale RfCs by building models to predict RfCs' outcomes.
paper - first research talk! - CSCW slides - English Wikipedia RfC dataset

App Inventor VR Editor for Computational Thinking
Jane Im, Paul Medlock-Walton, Mike Tissenbaum
( short paper @ CTE 2017 )
I programmed a JavaScript API for embedding VR blocks into MIT App Inventor using libraries including three.js and Physijs.
short paper - slides

Lightly Refereed Workshop Papers

Building Social Platforms around Affirmative Consent
Jane Im, Jeeyoon Hyun, Jill Dimond, Melody Berton, Eric Gilbert
( workshop paper @ CHI 2020, accepted to Moving Forward Together: Effective Activism For Change )
In this position paper we argue that HCI researchers can play a role in activism by building safe and consentful social platforms with feminist values, in particular, affirmative consent (“yes means yes"). Inspired by feminist activism, we have derived the core concepts of affirmative consent from prior literature. We are also generating design insights based on our definition of affirmative consent — which we hope will inspire multiple platforms that only allow safe and consensual interactions, and further aid and empower activism.
workshop paper

Non-consensual Images/Videos on Social Media and Online Consent
Jane Im
( workshop paper @ CHI 2019, accepted to "Sensitive Research, Practice and Design in HCI" )
Non-consensual images/videos are a huge problem on the Internet, including social media.
This workshop paper stemmed from my interest on the problem of creepshots (불법촬영, "몰카") in South Korea.
workshop paper

Others

Customized blocks in MIT App Inventor
I implemented a new feature called “user-defined blocks (customizable blocks)” into MIT App Inventor, an open source web platform that lets users build their own Android Apps quickly by using blocks-based programming.
I became interested into the system-building aspect of HCI through this project.
final report - slides - demo

3D Printing Assisted Fabrication of Soft Robotic Hand with Embedded Soft Electronic Circuits
We developed 3D printing based soft robotic hands with stand-alone actuation and control system. I also contributed to the lab by independently implementing the software interface for precision 3D printing for advanced soft materials.
award announced page - details - demo - slides



This site is made by Jane Im, code here. Last updated 2/9/2021