As social media have become major channels for the diffusion of news and information, it is critical to understand how the complex interplay between cognitive, social, and algorithmic biases triggered by our reliance on online social networks makes us vulnerable to manipulation and disinformation. We focus on two key factors that contribute to online virality: the structure of the social network and the engagement mechanisms that manage our limited attention. This talk overviews ongoing network analytics, modeling, and machine learning efforts to study the viral spread of misinformation and to develop tools for countering the online manipulation of opinions.
Joint work with collaborators at the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, McDonnell Foundation, DARPA, Democracy Fund, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Knight Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these funding agencies.
Filippo Menczer is the Luddy distinguished professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the Director of the Observatory on Social Media. He has courtesy appointments in cognitive science and physics. He holds a Laurea in Physics from the Sapienza University of Rome and a PhD in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Menczer is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication, a Senior Research Fellow of The Kinsey Institute, and a board member of the IU Network Science Institute. He previously served as division chair in the IUB School of Informatics and Computing, director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, visiting scientist at Yahoo Research, Fellow of the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation in Torino, Italy, and Fellow-at-large of the Santa Fe Institute. He has been the recipient of Fulbright, Rotary Foundation, and NATO fellowships, and a Career Award from the National Science Foundation. His research interests span Web and data science, computational social science, science of science, and modeling of complex information networks. In the last 10 years, his lab has led efforts to study online misinformation spread and to develop tools to detect and counter social media manipulation. This work has been covered in many U.S. and international news sources, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CNN, BBC, Economist, Guardian, Atlantic, Reuters, Science, and Nature. Menczer received multiple service awards and currently serves as associate editor of the Network Science journal and on the editorial boards of EPJ Data Science, PeerJ Computer Science, and HKS Misinformation Review.
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