Mark Hansen

  • Professor
  • Columbia School of Journalism

Mark Hansen joined Columbia Journalism School in July 2012 and took on the position of inaugural director of the east coast branch of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Prior to joining Columbia, he was a professor at UCLA in the Department of Statistics, and before that he was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

Hansen teaches mainly advanced data analysis and computational journalism at Columbia. In 2018, Hansen’s class initiated the original reporting for the New York Times’ piece, The Follower Factory, which exposed the bot economy behind the sale of fake followers on Twitter. That article was ultimately cited by Twitter as the reason for its July, 2018 “purge” of tens of millions of suspicious accounts, and was partially responsible for California’s bot law. It was also part of a package of stories from the Times that won the 2019 Polk Award for National Reporting, and was a finalist for a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

Hansen holds a B.S. in Applied Math from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D and M.A. in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been awarded eight patents and has published over 60 papers in data science, statistics and computer science.