The Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe, pronounced awe•some) is a joint project of the Network Science Institute (IUNI), the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS) at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, and The Media School at Indiana University.
Transform the study of coupled media and technology networks that drive the diffusion of information. Offer access to data and tools to investigate the diffusion of (mis)information, uncover the vulnerabilities of the media ecosystem, and develop methods for increasing the resilience of citizens and democratic systems to manipulation. Train a generation of media professionals, enabling them to employ computational skills for fulfilling the traditional watchdog function of journalism.
This mission revolves around three core activities:
Conduct research to understand the cognitive, social, network, and algorithmic factors that make the media landscape vulnerable to manipulation, and design interventions and incentives to mitigate these vulnerabilities. Our research helps news consumers detect coordinated manipulation campaigns and determine the trustworthiness of information and sources, in the absence of reliable intermediaries. The interdisciplinary nature of these efforts is illustrated by collaborations among computer scientists, journalists, physicists, cognitive scientists, political scientists, and sociologists.
Employ social media data and analytics resources to empower researchers, journalists, and citizens to understand information diffusion, detect misinformation, and evaluate the trustworthiness of new influentials. These resources include a 130+ billion tweet collection and several public data, visualization, machine learning, and literacy tools to study information pollution and manipulation.
Develop new training in support of the journalistic mission, serving the information needs of a democracy in the era of social media. These educational effortswill include new master and certificate programs in data journalism. Our ambition is to position future reporters to uncover newsworthy information that is otherwise invisible to public scrutiny and empower citizens to navigate their way to informed participatory behavior.