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Clinical Professor, USC Annenberg

David Craig conducts research and teaches courses on global and national media industries and creator culture through the lens of political economy, cultural, production, and creator studies. His scholarship and course work operates at the level of the global, regional, and national, intersection of political economy, cultural, production, and platform studies, mapping the progression from 20th Century film and television to the emerging competition surrounding streaming video platforms.


He has published three books and over two dozen articles about the global and Chinese creator industries, whether referred to as social media entertainment or wanghong. He is the USC Director of the dual-degree MA program in Global Media and Communication in partnership with The London School of Economics.

2023 – 2024 RSM Visiting Scholar


The Berkman Klein Center’s Institute for Rebooting Social Media (RSM) is a three-year, “pop-up” research initiative to accelerate progress towards addressing social media’s most urgent problems, including misinformation, privacy breaches, harassment, and content governance. 

At RSM, Craig will focus on “Creators for Change”, a term borrowed from the now defunct YouTube program, to describe those creators who are explicitly aligned with and advocating for political, social justice, and cause-based efforts.Craig will interrogate how creators navigate their commercial and cultural interests and engage their communities around these concerns on and across platforms, as well as their collaborative practices with activist and impact organizations throughout the political and sociocultural spectrum.

Institute for Rebooting Social Media 2023-2024 Cohort
Fulbright Program Seal

2023 – 2025 Fulbright Global Scholar


Project Title: BORDER WARS: Platform Nationalism in the Digital Periphery

Host Countries: Chile, Thailand, and Israel

BORDER WARS is a multi-sited, three-year research project that maps the competition amongst and between the U.S. and Chinese-owned streaming video and social media industries in Thailand, Chile, and Israel and throughout these regions. More specifically, the research will focus on how the platforms are recruiting local production companies, legacy media and cultural producers and social media entrepreneurs, otherwise known as creators, influencers, KOLs, and wanghong, to recruit users, viewers, subscribers, and online communities onto their platforms. The consequences of these battles anticipates the accelerated fears of a bifurcated Internet dominated by either nation, while locking out citizens globally from the other nation’s system.

Wanghong as Social Media Entertainment in China Book Cover

Wanghong as Social Media Entertainment in China

Palgrave (2021)

Tyler Oakley speaking in California. Gage Skidmore/flickr, CC BY-SA via The Conversation

How social media stars are fighting for the Left 

The Conversation (2017)

From Networks to Netflix Cover
A&E: From Art to Vice in the Managed Channel Portfolio

Chapter in From Networks to Netflix (2018)

Creator Culture Book Cover

Creator Culture

NYU Press (2021)


European Journal of Cultural Studies Volume 23 Number 6 Cover

Pandemic and its metaphors: Sontag revisited in  Covid-19 era

European Journal of Cultural Studies (2020)

International Journal of Cultural Studies Volume 22, Number 6 Cover
China’s livestreaming industry: platforms, politics, and precarity

International Journal of Cultural Studies (2019)

Social Media Entertainment Book Cover

Social Media Entertainment

NYU Press (2019)

Diverse group of young people holding up fists in protest
We must not punish content creators in our rush to regulate social platforms

The Conversation (2018)

Cover of Making Media: Production, Practices, and Professions
Creator Management in the Social Media Entertainment Industry

Chapter in Making Media (2019)

 Notable Research 

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