Christo Wilson
Christo Wilson

I am an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the College of Computer and Information Science. I received my PhD from UCSB working under Ben Y. Zhao.

My research interests include auditing algorithms, security and privacy, and online social networks. Much of my work focuses on using measured data to analyze and understand complex phenomenon on the Web. In many cases, I have leveraged the knowledge gained from measurements of the Web to build systems that improve security, privacy, and transparency for users.

As a new professor, I am actively recruiting new students. If you are interested in auditing algorithms, personalization algorithms, online tracking and privacy, or security on the Web, read the prospective students section of my webpage, and then send me an email.

Current Projects


PhD in Computer Science College of Engineering at UCSB 2008-2012
Masters in Computer Science College of Engineering at UCSB 2006-2007
BS in Computer Science College of Creative Studies at UCSB 2002-2006


CCIS Best Teacher Award2015
Nominated for ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award2012
Outstanding Dissertation Award from UCSB2012
Best Paper Award: Honorable Mention at SIGCOMM2011
Dean's Fellowship from UCSB2010-2011
Distinguished Graduate Research Fellowship from UCSB2008-2009
Best Poster Award at UCSB Graduate Student Workshop2007
Nominated for Best Student Paper Award at IWQoS2007


Microsoft Research Redmond Cheng Huang and Jin Li Summer 2011
Microsoft Research Cambridge Thomas Karagiannis and Ant Rowstron Summer 2010

Contact Info
June 2016 I am now the proud recipient of an NSF CAREER award, which will support our continued work on algorithmic auditing.
May 2016 Congrats to Ahmad on his Usenix Security 2016 paper! This paper presents a methodology for detecting cookie matching between ad networks, even when the process is obfuscated.
December 2015 Congrats to Zhenhua on his NSDI 2016 paper (Baidu TrafficGuard), and Le and Gary on their WWW 2016 papers (dynamic pricing on Amazon, and personalized online maps, respectively)! An auspicious start to 2016!
October 2015 Huge press coverage (more and more!) for our study of Uber's surge pricing algorithm.
July 2015 Northeastern has an unprecedented 7 papers appearing in IMC 2015! Congrats to Le, Ancsa, Yabing, Liang, and Arash!
June 2015 Exciting news about grants. We are the proud recipients of one of the inaugural Data Transparency Lab grants! We also received an award from the Knight Foundation Prototype Fund to build a public version of our tools for detecting online price discrimination.
March 2015 Congrats to Xiaofeng on her first accepted paper, to appear at ICWSM 2015. The PDF will be available after the camera ready deadline later in March.
February 2015 Our work on uncovering personalization algorithms is part of this weeks cover story in New Scientist!
October 2014 The CBS Evening News ran a piece on our price discrimination work, including an interview with yours truly. The video can be found here.
October 2014 The full text of our IMC 2014 paper on price discrimination and steering on e-commerce sites is now available here and on the Personalization Research Group page here.
August 2014 Our new site dedicated to our research on personalization algorithms, the Filter Bubble, and algorithmic society is now online. Compliments to NEU undergrad Gary Soeller for the swanky design.
August 2014 If you are looking for me, make sure to come by my new office in 248 WVH!
July 2014 Interesting article on Facebook's secret news-feed personalization algorithm, with quotes by yours truly.
July 2014 Alan, David Lazer, and myself are the happy recipients of a new NSF CHS Medium grant, entitled "Towards Transparency of Personalization on the Web". This grant will fund our ongoing work on online personalization and the Filter Bubble.
July 2014 Congrats to Ancsa, Liang, and Zhenhua on their three accepted papers at IMC 2014! These papers cover several different topics: online price discrimination, Heartbleed and SSL certificate revocation, and the network-level characteristics of cloud storage systems. Vancouver, here we come!
June 2014 Our own Ancsa Hannak is quoted in an article in The Saturday Post about our work on Google Search and the Filter Bubble.
March 2014 Congrats to Yabing, Chloe, Ancsa, Raphael, Diego, and João on gettings three papers accepted to ICWSM 2014!
February 2014 The full text of our TKDD journal paper on detecting and analyzing social Sybils is now available. This work is an extension of our IMC 2011 paper of the same title.
November 2013 Two of our papers have recently been accepted as journal articles in TWEB and TKDD. Copies will be made available online as soon as the ACM editors proof the camera readies.
October 2013 The full text of our COSN 2013 paper is now available online, in preparation for the start of the conference next Monday.
August 2013 Congratulations to Le and Chi on their first ever accepted paper! "Tweeting Under Pressure: Analyzing Trending Topics and Evolving Word Choice on Sina Weibo" will appear at COSN 2013.
July 2013 Alan Mislove and myself are the proud recipients of a shiny new NSF CNS grant. It feels great to finally be funded!
July, 2013 The journal version of the IMC 2010 Renren latent interaction paper has been accepted to ACM Transactions on the Web. Links to the new journal version of the paper and publication info will be posted when available.
May, 2013 Congratulations to Gang and Tristan on their Usenix Security 2013 paper! The paper leverages clickstream analysis and clustering to identify fake accounts on Renren (and LinkedIn).
April, 2013 The website for the new ACM social networks mega-conference, COSN, is live. Paper submissions are due June 28!
March, 2013 The camera ready and data for our WWW paper on Google Search personalization are now available.
February, 2013 Our paper on measuring the personalization of Google Search results has been accepted to WWW 2013. Congrats to Ancsa, Piotr, and Arash! Rio, here we come!
November, 2012 The journal version of the Eurosys 2009 Facebook interaction paper is appearing in the November issue of Transactions on the Web.
October, 2012 Our paper on crowdsourced detection of Sybil accounts on social networks has been accepted to NDSS 2013. The pre-print can be found on arxiv. Congrats to Gang and Manish!
August, 2012 The website for my fall class, CS 4700 / CS 5700 Network Fundamentals, is online. Slides, homeworks, and projects will be put online as I complete them.
July, 2012 Our new paper "Multi-scale Dynamics in a Massive Online Social Network" has been accepted to IMC 2012. Congrats to Xiaohan!
May, 2012 I received the Outstanding Dissertation Award in Computer Science from UCSB.
April, 2012 It's official: my days at UCSB are numbered. Starting September 1, I will be Professor Wilson of Northeastern University!
January 30, 2012 The crowdturfing paper got accepted to WWW 2012!
January 6, 2012 Very evocative piece on our crowdturfing work, this time from the Boston Globe.
December 13, 2011 More crowdturfing coverage, this time on Slashdot.
December 12, 2011 MIT Technology Review has an article covering our study (Arxiv pre-print) on evil crowd-sourcing services, a.k.a. crowdturfing. Our study focuses on the so called Chinese "Water Army," but be warned that we have also found crowdturfing sites targeting the U.S. Web as well.
December 6, 2011 The journal version of our Eurosys 2009 paper has been accepted to ACM Transactions on the Web. Links to the new journal version of the paper and publication info will be posted when available.
September 26, 2011 I am TAing the Fall CS 276 class. If you need me, I can be reached by email, and I'm usually in my office (trailer 936, near Phelps, behind Chemistry) during the day. Office hours are at 1 on Thursdays.
August 16, 2011 The paper that resulted from my internship last summer at Microsoft Research Cambridge received the Honorable Mention Award at SIGCOMM 2011. The paper, Better Never than Late: Meeting Deadlines in Datacenter Networks, is available here.
October 22, 2010 Our work on detecting spam on Facebook has been featured in MIT's Technology Review. Click here for the article, which includes one of my Illustrator diagrams.
August 17, 2010 I am one of the featured interns at Microsoft Research for 2010. This article has the story; my section is towards the middle.