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Dr. Annett Heft

Research Group Lead
Annett Heft

Annett Heft, Dr. Phil., was head of the research group Digitalization and the Transnational Public Sphere at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society in Berlin from 2017 to 2022. Since 2022, she has been the research group lead of the research group Dynamics of Digital Mobilization.

In her research, Annett Heft is interested in the comparative study of political communication and mobilization in Europe with a particular focus on the digital communication of right-wing populist and far-right media, movements, and parties, as well as on processes of political mobilization in anti-democratic movements. Her research is characterized by comparative designs and the combination of established procedures of empirical social research with research methods of computational social science. In addition to her work at the Weizenbaum Institute, Annett Heft has been Principal Investigator in the research consortium "NEOVEX - Patterns and Dynamics of Conspiracy Theories and Right-Wing Ideologies in Times of Crisis" at the Institute for Media and Communication Studies at the Free University of Berlin since 2022.

She strengthens the exchange between science and society, among other things, through her work in the Scientific Advisory Board of the Research Unit of the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Gegen Hass im Netz.

Positions at Weizenbaum Institut

Research Focus: Digital Markets and Public Spheres on Platforms

Research Group Lead

Research Group „Dynamics of Digital Mobilisation

Committees and functions

  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK)
  • European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)
  • International Communication Association (ICA)
  • European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR)

Fields of research

  • Digital communication of right-wing populist and right-wing extremist media, movements and parties
  • Processes of political mobilization by anti-democratic movements
  • Political communication and mobilization in Europe with a focus on digital public spheres
  • Disinformation and conspiracy theories in dissonant networked public spheres
  • Quantitative research methods and computational social science



  • Principal Investigator Research Consortium at Free University Berlin: NEOVEX - Patterns and Dynamics of Conspiracy Theories and Far-Right Ideologies in Times of Crisis
  • Project: 'Diffusion Dynamics of Conspiracy Theories and Adaptation Strategies in Hybrid Information Ecologies'


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Freie Universität Berlin (FU)
+49 30 700141-047