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Fil Menczer

I am the Luddy Distinguished Professor of Informatics and Computer Science at the Indiana University School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, director of the Observatory on Social Media, and a member (and former director) of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research. I also have courtesy appointments in Cognitive Science and Physics, serve on the advisory board of the IU Network Science Institute (IUNI), and am a Fellow of the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication, a Senior Research Fellow of the Kinsey Institute, a Fellow at the ISI Foundation in Torino, Italy, and a Fellow of the ACM.

Research in my group, NaN, spans computational social science, network science, Web science, and data science, with a focus on analyzing and modeling the spread of information and misinformation in social networks and detecting and countering the manipulation of social media. We also study social computing, Web search and data mining, and science of science.

My calendar is a bit crowded. You may schedule an appointment with Tara Holbrook. Or you can try your luck by email, phone (+1-812-856-1377), or in person (LU 2028).

Prospective students interested in joining my group, NaN, should look at this advice before contacting me. Then, if still interested, they should apply to one of our PhD programs: Informatics (Complex Networks & Systems track), Computer Science, or Cognitive Science. Also check out the NSF-Funded Interdisciplinary Training Program in Complex Networks and Systems! I am usually unable to respond to inquiries from prospective students unless they have already been admitted to one of these programs.

Recent News

We’re moving and hiring!
   

We have two big announcements! First, CNetS (along with IUNI and OSoMe) is moving to the new Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence. Second, we have a new tenure-track assistant professor position in Artificial Intelligence and Network Science. We welcome any candidates who study AI, complex systems, and network science (all broadly defined). Potential research areas include, but are not limited to, deep learning, graph neural networks, complex systems, complex networks, computational neuroscience, computational social science, social media analytics, agent-based models, and the impacts of AI (Read more ...)


Probing political bias on Twitter with drifter bots
   

Our latest paper "Neutral bots probe political bias on social media" by Wen Chen, Diogo Pacheco, Kai-Cheng Yang & Fil Menczer just came out in Nature Communications. We find strong evidence of political bias on Twitter, but not as many think: (1) it is conservative rather than liberal bias, and (2) it results from user interactions (and abuse) rather than platform algorithms. We tracked neutral "drifter" bots to probe political biases. In the figure, we see the (Read more ...)


ICWSM Test of Time Award
   
Twitter echo chambers

Our 2011 paper Political Polarization on Twitter was recognized at the 2021 AAAI International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM) with the Test of Time Award. First author Mike Conover, who was then a PhD student and is now Director of Machine Learning Engineering at Workday, accepted the award at a ceremony at the end of the ICWSM conference. Other (Read more ...)


Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award
   
Mihai AvramCNetS alumnus Mihai Avram is the recipient of the 2020 Indiana University Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award for his work on Hoaxy and Fakey: Tools to Analyze and Mitigate the Spread of Misinformation in Social Media. This award recognizes a "truly outstanding" Master s thesis based on criteria such as originality, documentation, significance, accuracy, organization, and style. Some of the findings in Mihai s thesis have recently been published in the paper Exposure to social engagement metrics increases vulnerability to misinformation, in The Harvard (Read more ...)

Evidence of a coordinated network amplifying inauthentic narratives in the 2020 US election
   
Coordinated network amplifying inauthentic narratives in the 2020 US election

On 15 September 2020, The Washington Post published an article by Isaac Stanley-Becker titled “Pro-Trump youth group enlists teens in secretive campaign likened to a ‘troll farm,’ prompting rebuke by Facebook and Twitter.” The article reported on a network of accounts run by teenagers in Phoenix, who were coordinated and paid by an affiliate of conservative youth organization Turning Point USA. These accounts posted identical messages amplifying political narratives, including false claims about COVID-19 (Read more ...)


UPDATE: BotSlayer tool to expose disinformation networks
   
Browder disinformation network

We are excited to announce the new v.1.3 of BotSlayer, our OSoMe cloud tool that lets journalists, researchers, citizens, & civil society organizations track narratives and detect potentially coordinated inauthentic information networks on Twitter in real-time. Improvements and new features include better stability, a new alert system, a Mac installer, and many additions to the interface. This version is released in time for those who would like to use BotSlayer to (Read more ...)


Botometer V4
   
botometer-v4 screenshot

In September 2020, we are introducing a major upgrade for Botometer. This post explains the changes and motivations behind them.

(Read more ...)

Knight Fellows
   

Harry Yanmatt_devernaIndiana University’s Observatory on Social Media, funded in part last year with a $3 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has named two new Knight Fellows. Matthew DeVerna and Harry Yaojun Yan will help advance the center’s ongoing investigations into how information and misinformation spread online. The Observatory on Social Media, or OSoMe (pronounced “awesome”), is a collaboration between CNetS in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and EngineeringThe Media School; and the  (Read more ...)


CNetS @ NetSci 2020
   

CNetS students, postdocs, and faculty members will give 7 regular talks and present 13 posters at NetSci 2020, held online this year due to COVID-19. Regular talks will cover research on many topics including COVID-19, forecasting social contagion of anti-vax ideas, political bias in social media, coordinated manipulation online, the scientific development of nations, hierarchy in faculty hiring networks, and citation cartels in journals.

(Read more ...)

CNetS @ IC2S2
   

ic2s2_logoCNetS students, postdocs, and faculty members will be presenting 12 papers, 7 posters, and a tutorial on OSoMe tools at the 2000 International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2), held online this year due to COVID-19. In addition, Fil Menczer will deliver one of the keynotes. (Read more ...)