Gazal Shekhawat

Gazal Shekhawat

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Connect with me

English, Hindi
Key Expertise
Platform studies, Political violence

About me


At LSE, Gazal is studying the relationship between populist mobilisation and social media. Her research aims to locate the role of social media services in India's changing politics, trace their use among dominant groups in the Hindi heartland, and the resistance to this mobilisation by members and non-members. Exploring the role of Facebook and WhatsApp in the 'world's largest democracy,' the project aims to both identify and build theories that meaningfully reflect the complexities of the Global South.

Before starting her PhD, Gazal was a Research Fellow at Microsoft Research Lab, India where she worked on polarisation, extremism and politics on social media platforms. With her colleagues at MSR, she is leading a research project on the wellbeing of Indian content moderators, who, via. outsourcing, are crucial to the functioning of platforms headquartered in the USA and China.   

Prior to her master’s in Conflict Studies at LSE, Gazal was based in South Asia. She holds a diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from the Lady Shri Ram College for Women at the University of Delhi, and a bachelor’s in Mass Communication from the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication. Before transitioning into research, she worked as a multimedia journalist in India.

Gazal’s PhD research is supported by a studentship from AHRC through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership. She can be contacted at her university email and welcomes any queries about navigating higher education, from candidates who come from structurally underrepresented backgrounds.



Professor Shakuntala Banaji



Dash, S., Grover, R., Shekhawat, G., Kaur, S., Mishra, D., & Pal, J. (2021). Insights Into Incitement: A Computational Perspective on Dangerous Speech on Twitter in India. arXiv e-prints, arXiv-2111. (Forthcoming in The International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM))


Mishra, D., Akbar, S., Shekhawat, G., & Pal, J. (2022). Virality and the Virus: COVID-19 Cures on Twitter in India. In Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). University of Hawaii at Manoa.


Arya, A., De, S., Mishra, D., Shekhawat, G., Sharma, A., Panda, A., M Lalani, F., Singh, P., Kommiya Mothilal, R., Grover, R., Nishal, S., Dash, S., Rashid Shora, S., Akbar, S. Z., & Pal, J. (n.d.). DISMISS: Database of Indian Social Media Influencers (Snowballed Sequentially) on Twitter (V1 ed.). Harvard Dataverse. 


Grover, R., Shekhawat, G., & Pal, J. (2021). Twitter superstars don’t win elections: A Poster on Twitter Campaigning and Electoral Realities in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly Elections. In ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies (COMPASS) (pp. 428-431).


Dash, S., Shekhawat, G., Akbar, S. Z., & Pal, J. (2021). Extremism & Whataboutism: A Case Study on Bangalore Riots.  arXiv preprint arXiv:2109.10526.


Dash, S., Mishra, D., Shekhawat, G., & Pal, J. (2021). Divided We Rule: Influencer Polarization on Twitter During Political Crises in India. arXiv preprint arXiv:2105.08361.



Expertise Details

Platform studies; Political violence