Marc Cheong
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marc cheong

Hi there 👋 I’m a Digital Ethicist, Data Scientist, Philosopher -- and soon to be Senior Lecturer in Information Systems.
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ℹ️ About Me

I am currently a Senior Lecturer - Information Systems specializing in Digital Ethics
and a Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School
at The University of Melbourne (formerly Senior Research Fellow in Digital Ethics, 2020-2021).

I am also an Honorary Burnet Institute Senior Fellow at The Burnet.

My research interest is in social network analysis and interdisciplinary applications of both continental and analytic philosophy + data science empirical methods + information systems methodologies.
With over ten years of academic experience, I am committed to facilitating quality interdisciplinary research and education: with a strong background in data science, social media analysis, and philosophical rigour.

✅ Core Skills

👥 Social Network Analysis and Mining

📊 Data Analysis and Visualisation (incl. Tableau)

🤖 Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing

👨‍🏫 Interdisciplinary IT and Humanities Lecturing

📜 Research Profiles

👨‍💻 My Data Science and Information Systems Research

As one of the early global pioneers of Twitter research (ca. 2009), my PhD dissertation, "Inferring Social Behavior and Interaction on Twitter by Combining Metadata about Users & Messages", resulted in major contributions in Social Media Metadata analysis and inference generation using state-of-the-art data science approaches (known primarily as pattern recognition and data mining back then).
Since then, I am recognised as a subject-matter expert in social media analysis, as well as the research methods and computational techniques used - including Python programming, cloud computing, Tableau, Python, SQL - to name a few. My data analysis and research acumen have contributed to international research collaborations in a wide range of domains - from marketing, to mental health, to energy policy, to political science.
Image credit: Unsplash/@prateekkatyal

⌗ Social Network Analysis: Data Science Approaches

My pioneering work on Twitter analysis led to the subsequent, ongoing, research interest in social media and social networks in general. Given any social network (real or simulated), I am interested in studying both intrinsic and extrinsic features of the network, with both automated and semi-automated techniques, and cross-disciplinary insights. A key pillar of this is the development and research of robust techniques to computationally perform what is otherwise laborious manual processing.

Collaborators include: David Green (Monash); Sid Ray (Monash) 

🩺 Data-driven Public Health  

I am part of diverse research groups with subject matter experts contributing to interdisciplinary public health research. 

Currently, in collaboration with The Burnet, I work in project teams studying user-generated social media responses to COVID-19 public health measures (TIGERC19) especially for pregnancy (SCOOP). I also co-supervise a PhD project on analysing how Caesarean sections are portrayed on Indonesian social media.

Collaborators include: Robert Power (The Burnet); Cassandra Caddy (The Burnet); Alyce Wilson & team (The Burnet); Rana Zahroh (PhD Candidate, UniMelb).
A previous study at Monash involved NLP methods for detecting markers of low mental health and well being (MHWB), including use of social media amongst university students to find out their usage motivations and how it affects MHWB. 

Collaborators include: Joanne Byrne (La Trobe); Yen Cheung (Monash); Eddie Robinson (Monash); Jojo Wong (La Trobe); Sudhir Mandarapu & Zhehui Yang (Honours Students, Monash)
Image credit: Unsplash/@lukechesser
Image credit: Unsplash/@antenna

💬 Analyses of Social Information Systems

I am also a frequent commentator to the media on issues surrounding the ethics of digital technologies (more in the next section) - from a combined usability/ philosophical/information systems perspective.

Highlights include:
New York Times interview on Facebook's 2021 Australia news block.
The Age interview on QR code adoption in Victoria during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ticker News interview on the 'hypocrisy of social media giants' (based on this article).

Other past research projects include (a) pioneering several research techniques, including Twitter-based survey and sampling, as well as natural language processing (combined with my forté of metadata analysis) to identify marketing behviours of craft beer pioneers versus their mainstream counterparts and (b) analysing the discourse on Twitter for energy policy and contemporary energy-related issues in Australia. 

Collaborators include: Torgeir Aleti (RMIT); Sue Bedingfield (Monash); Paul Harrigan (UWA); Kerri Morgan (Deakin); Will Turner

😇 My Ethics & Philosophy Research

I am interested in the intersection of technology (big data, social media, etc) and philosophy (existentialism, ethics, epistemology, and Experimental Philosophy).

Image credit: Unsplash/@cdr6934

🚦 Digital Ethics and Algorithms

Being trained as a computer scientist, then working as a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) lecturer and data scientist, I am interested in the intersection between computer science and philosophy - in particular how basic building blocks (of algorithms and programming languages) - have an impact on the human usage of systems, and their wider societal impact (for better or for worse).

Collaborators include: (from UniMelb unless otherwise stated) Simon Coghlan; Leah Ruppanner, Lea Frermann, Tony Wirth, Reeva Lederman; Tim Miller, Jeannie Paterson, Gabby Bush; Ronal Singh; Shaanan Cohney; Inbar Levy; Lía Acosta Rueda, Sophie Squires; Tim Kariotis, John Howe, John de New; Sheilla Njoto (PhD candidate); Aidan McLoughney (PhD candidate); 
Kobi Leins (KCL); Joanne Byrne (La Trobe); Upol Ehsan (GA Tech); 

Funded projects include: 
 A Fair Day’s Work: Detecting Wage Theft with Data (Paul Ramsay Foundation/;

🤝 Social Epistemology, Digital Trust, and Social Psychology

I have been working together with Mark Alfano and his Digital Trust lab on applying data science and network analysis methods on the study of social epistemology. My contribution provides an empirical understanding of today's social media landscape. I am also passionate about empowering philosophers with state-of-the-art data science methods.

Collaborators include: Mark Alfano (MacQuarie); J Adam Carter (Glasgow); Emily Sullivan (Eindhoven); Colin Klein (ANU); Ignacio Ojea Quintana (ANU); Ritsaart Reimann (MacQuarie); Annie Chan (MacQuarie); Marinus Ferriera (MacQuarie).
I am also part of a collaboration with Oliver Curry and team by contributing to digital 'machine reading morals' techniques. I contribute to data-driven analyses for Curry's Morality-as-Cooperation (MAC) Theory.

Collaborators include: Oliver Scott Curry (, Mark Alfano (MacQuarie); Rene Weber (UCSB). 
Image credit: Unsplash/@charlesdeluvio
Image credit: Unsplash/@kylejglenn

😑 (Digital) Existentialism & Phenomenology

My work deals with the analysis of contemporary social media from an existentialist lens, which has not been as actively researched since the days of de Beauvoir, Sartre, et al. My work currently challenges the notion of authenticity on social media, and why it runs counter to existentialist philosophy.

Collaborators include: Matthew Dennis (Eindhoven); Alfred Archer (Tilburg); Elese Dowden; Digital Worlds Workshop (UTRGV).


Copyright © 2021 Marc Cheong.
 CREDITS: stock images are from Unsplash (credits to authors per image captions); and background image thanks to @aridley88. Icons are courtesy of FontAwesome and Jemi.