OSoMe Awesome Speakers
OSoMe Awesome Speakers is a virtual event that aims to provide a platform for leading scholars and researchers to share their work and insights about social media manipulation and misinformation. The series will bring together experts from various fields to discuss a range of topics related to information integrity. The series is an excellent opportunity for academics, journalists, and industry professionals to learn about the latest developments in social media research and engage in insightful discussions with experts. (Note: "OSoMe Awesome" is pronounced "awesome awesome.")
Stanford Internet Observatory
Technical Research Manager
TALK TITLE: TBD
BIO: Renée DiResta is the Technical Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies. Renee’s work examines the spread of narratives across social and media networks, how distinct actor types leverage the information ecosystem to exert influence, and how policy, education, and design responses can be used to mitigate manipulative dynamics.Renée has advised Congress, the State Department, and other academic, civic, and business organizations. At the behest of SSCI, she led outside teams investigating both the Russia-linked Internet Research Agency’s multi-year effort to manipulate American society and elections, and the GRU influence campaign deployed alongside its hack-and-leak operations in the 2016 election. Renée is an Ideas contributor at Wired and The Atlantic, an Emerson Fellow, a 2019 Truman National Security Project fellow, a 2019 Mozilla Fellow in Media, Misinformation, and Trust, a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, and a Council on Foreign Relations term member.
New York University
Professor of Politics, affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, and affiliated Professor of Data Science
TALK TITLE: Exposure to the Russian Internet Research Agency foreign influence campaign on Twitter in the 2016 US election and its relationship to attitudes and voting behavior
ABSTRACT: There is widespread concern that foreign actors are using social media to interfere in elections worldwide. Yet data have been unavailable to investigate links between exposure to foreign influence campaigns and political behavior. Using longitudinal survey data from US respondents linked to their Twitter feeds, we quantify the relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and attitudes and voting behavior in the 2016 US election. We demonstrate, first, that exposure to Russian disinformation accounts was heavily concentrated: only 1% of users accounted for 70% of exposures. Second, exposure was concentrated among users who strongly identified as Republicans. Third, exposure to the Russian influence campaign was eclipsed by content from domestic news media and politicians. Finally, we find no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior. The results have implications for understanding the limits of election interference campaigns on social media.
BIO: Joshua A. Tucker is Professor of Politics, affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, and affiliated Professor of Data Science at New York University. He is the Director of NYU’s Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia and co-Director of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics; he also served as a co-author/editor of the award-winning politics and policy blog The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post for over a decade. His research focuses on the intersection of social media and politics, including partisan echo chambers, online hate speech, the effects of exposure to social media on political knowledge, online networks and protest, disinformation and fake news, how authoritarian regimes respond to online opposition, and Russian bots and trolls. He is the co-Chair of the external academic team for the U.S. 2020 Facebook & Instagram Election Study, serves on the advisory board of the American National Election Study, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, and numerous academic journals, and was the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Experimental Political Science. An internationally recognized scholar, he has been a keynote speaker for conferences in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States, and has given over 200 invited research presentations at top domestic and international universities and research centers. His most recent books are the co-authored Communism’s Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes (Princeton University Press, 2017), and the co-edited Social Media and Democracy: The State of the Field (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
TALK TITLE: Computational Methods to Measure and Mitigate Online Disinformation
ABSTRACT: The Web has allowed disinformation to reach an unprecedented scale, allowing it to become ubiquitous and harm society in multiple ways. To be able to fully understand this phenomenon, we need computational tools able to trace false information, monitoring a plethora of online platforms and analyzing not only textual content but also images and videos. In this talk, I will present my group's efforts in developing tools to automatically monitor and model online disinformation. These tools allow us to recommend social media posts that should receive soft moderation, to identify false and misleading images posted online, and to detect inauthentic social network accounts that are likely involved in state-sponsored influence campaigns. I will then discuss our research on understanding the potentially unwanted consequences of suspending misbehaving users on social media.
BIO: Gianluca Stringhini is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boston University, holding affiliate appointments in the Computer Science Department, in the Faculty of Computing and Data Sciences, in the BU Center for Antiracist Research, and in the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research. In his research Gianluca applies a data-driven approach to better understand malicious activity on the Internet. Through the collection and analysis of large-scale datasets, he develops novel and robust mitigation techniques to make the Internet a safer place. His research involves a mix of quantitative analysis, (some) qualitative analysis, machine learning, crime science, and systems design. Over the years, Gianluca has worked on understanding and mitigating malicious activities like malware, online fraud, influence operations, and coordinated online harassment. He received multiple prizes including an NSF CAREER Award in 2020, and his research won multiple Best Paper Awards. Gianluca has published over 100 peer reviewed papers including several in top computer security conferences like IEEE Security and Privacy, CCS, NDSS, and USENIX Security, as well as top measurement, HCI, and Web conferences such as IMC, ICWSM, CHI, CSCW, and WWW.
University of Washington
Associate Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
TALK TITLE: TBD
BIO: Franziska (Franzi) Roesner is an Associate Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where she co-directs the Security and Privacy Research Lab. Her research focuses broadly on computer security and privacy for end users of existing and emerging technologies. Her work has studied topics including online tracking and advertising, security and privacy for marginalized and vulnerable user groups, security and privacy in emerging augmented reality (AR) and IoT platforms, and online mis/disinformation. She is the recipient of a Google Security and Privacy Research Award and a Google Research Scholar Award, a Consumer Reports Digital Lab Fellowship, an MIT Technology Review ”Innovators Under 35” Award, an Emerging Leader Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Austin, and an NSF CAREER Award. She serves on the USENIX Security and USENIX Enigma Steering Committees (having previously co-chaired both conferences). More information at https://www.franziroesner.com.
James O. Freedman Presidential Professor, Department of Government
TALK TITLE: Subscriptions and external links help drive resentful users to alternative and extremist YouTube videos
ABSTRACT: Do online platforms facilitate the consumption of potentially harmful content? Using paired behavioral and survey data provided by participants recruited from a representative sample in 2020 (n=1,181), we show that exposure to alternative and extremist channel videos on YouTube is heavily concentrated among a small group of people with high prior levels of gender and racial resentment. These viewers often subscribe to these channels (prompting recommendations to their videos) and follow external links to them. In contrast, non-subscribers rarely see or follow recommendations to videos from these channels. Our findings suggest YouTube's algorithms were not sending people down "rabbit holes" during our observation window in 2020, possibly due to changes that the company made to its recommender system in 2019. However, the platform continues to play a key role in facilitating exposure to content from alternative and extremist channels among dedicated audiences.
BIO: Brendan Nyhan is the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. His research, which focuses on misperceptions about politics and health care, has been published in journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Nature Human Behaviour, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Pediatrics, and Vaccine. Nyhan has been named a Guggenheim Fellow by the Guggenheim Foundation, an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and a Belfer Fellow by the Anti-Defamation League. He is also a co-founder of Bright Line Watch, a non-partisan group monitoring the state of American democracy; a contributor to The Upshot at The New York Times; and co-author of All the President's Spin, a New York Times bestseller that Amazon named one of the best political books of 2004. Nyhan received his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Duke University and previously served as a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research and Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
University of Michigan
Assistant Professor, School of Information
TALK TITLE: TBD
BIO: Ceren Budak is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Before that, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research New York. She received her PhD from the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara in December 2012 and her Bachelors degree from Computer Science Dept. @Bilkent University in Turkey in 2007. Her research interests lie in the area of computational social science; a discipline at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and the social sciences. She is particularly interested in applying large-scale data analysis techniques to study problems with social, political, and policy implications.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor of Management Science, Sloan School
TALK TITLE: TBD
BIO: David Rand is the Erwin H. Schell Professor and a Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, an affiliate of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and the director of the Human Cooperation Laboratory and the Applied Cooperation Team. Bridging the fields of cognitive science, behavioral economics, and social psychology, David’s research combines behavioral experiments run online and in the field with mathematical and computational models to understand people’s attitudes, beliefs, and choices. His work uses a cognitive science perspective grounded in the tension between more intuitive versus deliberative modes of decision-making. He focuses on illuminating why people believe and share misinformation and “fake news,” understanding political psychology and polarization, and promoting human cooperation. David was named to Wired magazine’s Smart List 2012 of “50 people who will change the world,” chosen as a 2012 Pop!Tech Science Fellow, received the 2015 Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Research, was selected as fact-checking researcher of the year in 2017 by the Poyner Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, and received the 2020 FABBS Early Career Impact Award from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. Papers he has coauthored have been awarded Best Paper of the Year in Experimental Economics, Social Cognition, and Political Methodology.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Austin Professor of Management, IT, Marketing and Data Science
TALK TITLE: TBD
BIO: Sinan Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management, IT, Marketing and Data Science at MIT, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and a founding partner at Manifest Capital. He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Alan Turing Institute, the British National Institute for Data Science in London, the Centre for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation in Bergen, Norway and C6 Bank, one of the first all-digital banks of Brazil. Sinan’s research and teaching have won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Fulbright Scholarship, the Jamieson Award for Teaching Excellence (MIT Sloan’s highest teaching honor) and more than ten best paper awards conferred by his colleagues in research. In 2014, he was named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” and, in 2018, became the youngest ever recipient of the Herbert Simon Award of Rajk László College in Budapest, Hungary. In 2018, Sinan published what Altmetrics called the second most influential scientific publication of the year on the “Spread of False News Online,” on the cover of Science. He is also the author of the upcoming book The Hype Machine, about how social media is disrupting our elections, our economies and our lives.
Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs
TALK TITLE: TBD
BIO: Andrew Guess is an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University. He uses a combination of experimental methods, large datasets, machine learning, and innovative measurement to study how people choose, process, spread, and respond to information about politics. He is also a founding co-editor of the Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media, with Kevin Munger and Eszter Hargittai. You can read their essay introducing the journal’s philosophy and goals here.