Talk by Luca Luceri

When: October 4, 2023, 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

Where: Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence 2005


Speaker: Luca Luceri

Title: AI-Driven Approaches for Countering Influence Campaigns in Socio-Technical Systems


The proliferation of online platforms and social media has sparked a surge in information operations designed to manipulate public opinion on a massive scale, posing significant harm at both the individual and societal levels. In this talk, I will outline a research agenda focused on identifying, investigating, and mitigating orchestrated influence campaigns and deceptive activities within socio-technical systems. I will start by detailing my research efforts in designing AI-based approaches for detecting state-backed troll accounts on social media. Modeling human decision-making as a Markov Decision Process and using an Inverse Reinforcement Learning framework, I will illustrate how we can extract the incentives that social media users respond to and differentiate genuine users from state-sponsored operators. Next, I will delve into a set of innovative approaches I developed to uncover signals of inauthentic, coordinated behaviors. By combining embedding techniques to unveil unexpected similarities in the activity patterns of social media users, along with graph decomposition methods, I will show how we can reveal network structures that pinpoint coordinated groups orchestrating information operations. Through these approaches, I will provide actionable insights to inform regulators in shaping strategies to tame harm, discussing challenges and opportunities to improve the resilience of the information ecosystem, including the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations to address these complex issues.

This is a hybrid event, hosted by Observatory on Social Media and co-hosted by the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research. The talk will be held in room 2005 of the Luddy AI building. Please indicate if you will be attending in-person as food will be provided.

Biography: Luca Luceri is a Research Scientist at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the University of Southern California (USC). His research incorporates machine learning, data and network science, with a primary focus on detecting and mitigating online harms in socio-technical systems. He investigates deceptive and malicious behaviors on social media, with a particular emphasis on problems such as social media manipulation, (mis-)information campaigns, and Internet-mediated radicalization processes. His research advances AI/ML/NLP for social good, computational social science, and human-machine interaction. In his role as a Research Scientist at ISI, Luca Luceri serves as a co-PI of the DARPA-funded program INCAS, aiming to develop techniques to detect, characterize, and track geopolitical influence campaigns. Additionally, he is the co-PI of a Swiss NSF-sponsored project called CARISMA, which develops network models to simulate the effects of moderation policies to combat online harms.