Check out the Great Minds Think Alike game for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It is a word association game that lets users build semantic concept networks and explore similarity relations between people and media content. Starting from a single word, the player builds a chain of words by selecting semantically related terms. Get the game from the App Store!
Congratulations to Dr. Jacob Ratkiewicz! Jacob successfully defended his dissertation titled The Expression of Human Behavior in Online Networks on May 2, 2011 and will take a position at Google in July. We will miss him!
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.
In the run-up to the mid-term elections, Truthy uncovered a number of abuses such as robot-driven traffic to politician websites and networks of bot accounts controlled by individuals to promote fake news. These findings have been widely covered in the press, with mentions in The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, PC World, New Scientist, NPR, Ars Technica, Fast Company, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Magazine, and many other media. Read more here and here.
The focus of this research project is understanding how information propagates through complex socio-technical information networks. Leveraging large-scale behavioral trace data from online social networking platforms we are able to analyze and model the spread of information, from political discourse to market trends, in unprecedented detail.
Our work to date includes a number of core research themes. Truthy is a web-based system to analyze and visualize the diffusion of information on Twitter. The Truthy system evaluates thousands of tweets an hour to identify new and emerging bursts of activity around memes of various flavors. Building on this foundation we have undertaken several analyses of political communication on Twitter, addressing political polarization and cross-ideological communication, the automated prediction of political affiliation from network and text data, and partisan asymmetries in online political engagement. Members of the Truthy team have successfully applied a custom psycholinguistic sentiment analysis framework to the problem of forecasting key market indicators, technology which now underpins the trading decisions of a $40 million investment fund.
The current focus of the project follows three directions:
- Expanding the platform to make the data more easily accessible and thus more useful to social scientists, reporters, and the general public.
- Modeling efforts to better understand how information spreads, why some memes go viral, the role of sentiment on the diffusion process, the mutual interaction between traffic on the network and the emergent structure of the network.
- Adopting network analysis methods in a machine learning framework to automatically detect astroturf in political campaigns.
Interoperability of Social Media Observatories. Web Science 2013, Web Observatory Workshop, May 5 2013
Design and Prototyping of a Social Media Observatory. WWW 2013, Web Observatory Workshop, May 17 2013
Conover MD, Davis C, Ferrara E, McKelvey K, Menczer F, Flammini A.
The Geospatial Characteristics of a Social Movement Communication Network. PLoS ONE 8(3): e55957, 2013
Truthy: Enabling the Study of Online Social Networks. CSCW 2013 Demonstration, 25 February 2013
Competition among memes in a world with limited attention. Sci. Rep., (2)335, 2012.
Modeling Dynamical Processes in Complex Socio-technical Systems. Nature Physics, 8, 32-39, 2012.
Visualizing Communication on Social Media: Making Big Data Accessible. Proc. CSCW Workshop on Collective Intelligence as Community Discourse and Action, 2012.
Detecting and Tracking Political Abuse in Social Media. Proc. 5th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media ICWSM, 2011.
Predicting the Political Alignment of Twitter Users. Proceedings of 3rd IEEE Conference on Social Computing SocialCom, 2011.
Networks of Political Communication I: Multi-Mode Interactions in an Online Social Network. International School and Conference on Network Science NetSci, 2011.
Truthy: Mapping the Spread of Astroturf in Microblog Streams. Proc. 20th Intl. World Wide Web Conf. Companion WWW, 2011.
Networks of Political Communication II: Partisan Engagement and Social Media. International School and Conference on Network Science NetSci, 2011.
Abuse of social media and political manipulation. In
Markus Jakobsson (Eds.),
The Death of The Internet, Wiley, 2012.
An Information Propagation Model Based on User Interests. In
H. Sayama, A. Minai, D. Braha, and Y. Bar-Yam (Eds.),
Unifying Themes in Complex Systems Volume VIII: Proc. 8th International Conference on Complex Systems ICCS, 2011.
- ICWSM 2011 Dataset: Truthy/Legitimate Classification
- ICWSM 2011 Dataset: Political Polarization on Twitter
- The Truthy Project Ferrets Out Online Deception - by WSJ
- Political Polarization on Twitter – presentation at ICWSM 2011
- Political Communication on Twitter: Misinformation, Polarization and Partisan Engagement - D2I seminar
We gratefully acknowledge support from the Lilly Foundation (Data to Insight Center Research Grant), the National Science Foundation (ICES award CCF-1101743 on Meme Diffusion Through Mass Social Media), and the James S. McDonnell Foundation (complex systems grant on contagion of ideas in online social networks). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies.
Congratulations to Ruj — er, Dr. Akavipat who successfully defended his dissertations on reputation systems for peer search networks, earning his PhD!
Congratulations to Ben and Le-Shin — er, Dr. Markines and Dr. Wu! They both successfully defended their dissertations this summer, earning their PhD!
NaN had a strong presence at Hypertext 2009 in Torino:
- Mark’s paper What’s in a session: tracking individual behavior on the web was nominated for the Best Paper Award.
- Heather presented the demo Incentives for social annotation about the prototype Firefox extension for GiveALink.org, and the tagging game. (Heather is also demoing at SIGIR’09 in Boston.)
- I presented the demo Sixearch.org 2.0 peer application for collaborative web search about the latest release of Sixearch.
- Ben presented his poster on A scalable, collaborative similarity measure for social annotation systems.
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.