We’re pleased to report several exciting developments in our interdisciplinary project studying information diffusion in complex online social networks. The past year has resulted in several publications. Our results on the Truthy astroturf monitoring and detection system were presented at WWW 2011 and ICWSM 2011. Research into the polarized network structure of political communication on Twitter was presented at ICWSM and received the 2011 CITASA Best Student Paper Honorable Mention. We demonstrated the feasibility of the prediction of individuals’ political affiliation from network and text data (SocialCom 2011), a machine learning application that enables large-scale instrumentation of nearly 20,000 individuals’ political behaviors, policy foci, and geospatial distribution (Journal of Information Technology and Politics). We’re also working on a paper on partisan asymmetries in online political activity surrounding the 2010 U.S. congressional midterm elections.
Current and future research is supported by an award from the NSF Interface between Computer Science and Economics & Social Sciences program, and a McDonnell Foundation grant. The former will focus on building an infrastructure for the study of information diffusion in social media, the characterization of meme spread patterns, and the development of sentiment analysis tools for social media. The latter will focus on modeling efforts, especially agent-based models of information diffusion, competition for attention, and the relationship between information sharing events and social network evolution.
Astroturfers, Twitter-bombers and smear campaigners need beware this election season as a group of leading Indiana University information and computer scientists today unleashed Truthy.indiana.edu, a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections. Combing through thousands of tweets per hour in search of political keywords, the team based out of IU’s School of Informatics and Computing will isolate patterns of interest and then insert those memes (ideas or patterns passed by imitation) into Twitter’s application programming interface (API) to obtain more information about the meme’s history.
Fil Menczer is one of the organizers of Hypertext 2009, the 20th ACM Conference on Hypertext an Hypermedia. The conference will be held June 29-July 1 at the Villa Gualino Convention Centre, on the hills overlooking Torino, Italy. Hypertext is the main venue for high quality peer-reviewed research on “linking.” The Web, the Semantic Web, the Web 2.0, and Social Networks are all manifestations of the success of the link. With a 70% increase in submissions, Hypertext 2009 will have a strong and diverse technical program covering all research concerning links: their semantics, their presentation, the applications, as well as the knowledge that can be derived from their analysis and their effects on society. The conference will also feature demos, posters, a student research competition, four workshops, and keynotes by Lada Adamic and Ricardo Baeza-Yates.
NaN is a research group exploring the modeling, simulation, and analysis of complex social and information networks, adaptive agents, and social computing systems. We especially focus on social media and the Web as complex techno-social networks in which we leave abundant traces of our activities: what we do, what we are interested in, whom we talk to, what knowledge we acquire and contribute. Our research spans from modeling the dynamic processes that occur online (how information networks grow and evolve, how they can be manipulated for the spread of misinformation, how individual and collective traffic patterns emerge, how attention bursts are generated and shaped by social and search tools) to designing tools that mine the Web to build better search, navigation, management, and recommendation tools (where ‘better’ means more reliable, intelligent, autonomous, robust, personalized, contextual, scalable, adaptive, and so on). We have ongoing collaborations with colleagues at the IU Network Science Institute (IUNI), ISI Foundation, Yahoo Labs, and MoBS Lab.