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OSoMe PostDoc Wanted

We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow to join the Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe, pronounced awe•some) at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) under the direction of Filippo Menczer. The research will address the intersection of computing, network, data, and media sciences with a focus on (mis/dis)information diffusion and the detection and countering of online manipulation.

Continue reading OSoMe PostDoc Wanted

CNetS research featured on PBS

In the groundbreaking new PBS series “NetWorld,” Niall Ferguson visits network theorists, social scientists and data analysts (including at CNetS!) to explore the intersection of social media, technology and the spread of cultural movements. Reviewing classic experiments and cutting-edge research, NetWorld demonstrates how human behavior, disruptive technology and profit can energize ideas and communication, ultimately changing the world.

New texbook from CNetS

The book A First Course in Network Science by CNetS faculty members Filippo Menczer and Santo Fortunato and CNetS PhD graduate Clayton A. Davis was recently published by Cambridge University Press. This textbook introduces the basics of network science for a wide range of job sectors from management to marketing, from biology to engineering, and from neuroscience to the social sciences. Extensive tutorials, datasets, and homework problems provide plenty of hands-on practice. The book has been endorsed as “Rigorous” (Alessandro Vespignani), “comprehensive… indispensable” (Olaf Sporns), “with remarkable clarity and insight” (Brian Uzzi), “accessible” (Albert-László Barabási), “amazing… extraordinary” (Alex Arenas), and “sophisticated yet introductory… an excellent introduction that is also eminently practical” (Stephen Borgatti). It was ranked by Amazon #1 among new releases in physics. More…

New BotSlayer tool to expose disinformation networks

Broder disinformation network

First announced in September 2019, the new BotSlayer software to expose disinformation networks is designed and developed by CNetS faculty and students in collaboration with IUNI staff and the Observatory on Social Media. BotSlayer is an application that helps track and detect potential manipulation of information spreading on Twitter. It can be used by journalists, researchers, civil society organizations, corporations, and political candidates to discover in real-time new coordinated disinformation campaigns. Read about how you can join the effort to spot the manipulation of social media.

New $6 million center will investigate media and technology in society

Indiana University will establish a $6 million research center to study the role of media and technology in society. With leadership by CNetS faculty, the Observatory on Social Media will investigate how information and misinformation spread online. It will also provide students, journalists and citizens with resources, data and training to identify and counter attempts to intentionally manipulate public opinion. Major support for the center comes from the  John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will contribute $3 million, as well as funds from the university. The center is a collaboration between the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, The Media School and the IU Network Science Institute. More…

Twitter bots play disproportionate role spreading misinformation

UPDATE: This paper is ranked #3 most read among all articles published by Nature Communications in 2018

Analysis by CNetS researchers of information shared on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential election has found that social bots played a disproportionate role in spreading misinformation online. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, analyzed 14 million messages and 400,000 articles shared on Twitter between May 2016 and March 2017 — a period that spans the end of the 2016 presidential primaries and the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Among the findings: A mere 6 percent of Twitter accounts that the study identified as bots were enough to spread 31 percent of the low-credibility information on the network. These accounts were also responsible for 34 percent of all articles shared from low-credibility sources. The study also found that bots played a major role promoting low-credibility content in the first few moments before a story goes viral. Continue reading Twitter bots play disproportionate role spreading misinformation

Congratulations to Dr. Dimitar Nikolov

Congratulations to Dimitar Nikolov, who successfully defended his PhD dissertation on Information Exposure Biases in Online Behaviors. Dr. Nikolov’s research explored the unintentional biases introduced by filtering, ranking, and recommendation algorithms that mediate our online consumption of information. His findings show that our reliance on modern online technologies limits exposure to diverse points of view and makes us vulnerable to misinformation. In particular, he analyzed two massive Web traffic datasets to quantify the popularity and homogeneity bias of several popular online platforms including social media, email, personalized news, and search engines. He also leveraged Twitter data to characterize the link between political partisanship and vulnerability to online pollution, such as fake news, conspiracy theories, and junk science. His dissertation contributes to the field of computational social science by putting the study of bias in information consumption and derived phenomena like political polarization, echo chambers, and online pollution on a more firm quantitative foundation.