Blog

CoVaxxy dashboard monitors vaccine misinformation and hesitancy

February 23, 2021

A new project from Indiana University's Observatory on Social Media, or OSoMe, points to misinformation as a factor affecting COVID-19 vaccine adoption. Working with colleagues from the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy, the OSoMe team has created a publicly available dashboard called CoVax...

Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

November 01, 2020

CNetS 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...

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

September 25, 2020

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,...

BotSlayer tool to expose disinformation networks

September 18, 2020

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 includ...

Knight Fellows

August 21, 2020

Indiana 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...

OSoMe research featured on PBS

March 18, 2020

In the groundbreaking new PBS series “NetWorld,” Niall Ferguson visits network theorists, social scientists and data analysts (including at OSoMe) to explore the intersection of social media, technology and the spread of cultural movements. Reviewing classic experiments and cutting-edge research,...

Impact of OSoMe research and tools

December 15, 2019

Work by the Observatory on Social Media is having real-world impact. For example, our tools have been used to uncover the roots of political misinformation in investigative pieces on the White Helmets and the pizzagate conspiracy. Hoaxy and Botometer have been leveraged in studies of misin...

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

August 15, 2019

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 c...

Twitter bots spread misinformation

July 19, 2019

Our analysis 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 sha...

OSoMe researcher provides expertise on misinformation battle at AAAS conference

February 15, 2019

Filippo Menczer appeared on a panel of experts to discuss the emergence and dissemination of misinformation, and how it threatens society at the annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15. Menczer was a part of a three-person panel and pre...

OSoMe grad honored with 2018 University Distinguished Ph.D. Dissertation Award

July 09, 2018

Onur Varol, a postdoctoral research associate at Northeastern University who earned his Ph.D. in Informatics from IU and was a member of OSoMe, has been honored with the University Distinguished Ph.D. Dissertation Award for 2018, which is the highest honor for research Indiana University bestows on...

OSoMe grad combats the spread of fake news with new mobile app

June 29, 2018

The spread of fake news is no game, but to recent OSoMe graduate Mihai Avram, a game just might be the solution. As a graduate student in CNetS, Avram developed a mobile app called Fakey to help combat the spread of fake news on social media. It is available to download for both Android and i...

Three new tools to study and counter online disinformation

May 10, 2018

Researchers at CNetS, IUNI, and the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media have launched upgrades to two tools playing a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer. A third tool Fakey — an educational game designed to make people smarter news c...

The science of fake news

March 08, 2018

The indictment of 13 Russians in the operation of a "troll farm" that spread false information related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election has renewed the spotlight on the power of "fake news" to influence public opinion. Filippo Menczer joined prominent legal scholars, social scientists and res...

Hoaxy: A Platform for Tracking Online Misinformation

December 04, 2016

While social media have brought about a more egalitarian model of information access, the lack of oversight from expert journalists makes the users of these platforms vulnerable to the intentional or unintentional spread of misinformation. We observe hoaxes, rumors, fake reports, and conspiracy th...

Why study fake news and digital misinformation

November 27, 2016

After the 2016 US elections, the topic of fake news and their spread on social media has become a hotly debated issue. As our group has been studying this phenomenon since 2010, our work has been covered and quoted in the media, analyzing the influence of social bots, the appearance of fake new...

Social bot research featured on CACM, IEEE Computer covers

July 09, 2016

Research on detection of social bots by OSoMe faculty members Alessandro Flammini and Filippo Menczer, former IUNI research scientist Emilio Ferrara, and graduate students Clayton A Davis, Onur Varol, and Prashant Shiralkar was featured on the covers of the two top computing venues:...

Observatory on Social Media launched

May 30, 2016

The power to explore online social media movements — from the pop cultural to the political — with the same algorithmic sophistication as top experts in the field is now available to journalists, researchers and members of the public from a free, user-friendly online software suite released today....

Best poster and best presenter prizes

April 11, 2016

Congratulations to Clayton A Davis, who won the best presenter prize at the 25th International World Wide Web Conference's Developers Day Workshop! Clayton presented BotOrNot: A system to evaluate social bots, a paper coauthored with Onur Varol, Emilio Ferrara, Alessandro Flammini, and...

BotOrNot passes a million hits within a week of launch

April 01, 2016

Social bots have been circulating on social media platforms for a few years, and if you frequent online social media, you've probably come across them whether you know it or not! To learn more about social bots, we built BotOrNot, a tool to analyze a Twitter user's behavior and compare it to the b...

Instagram to predict fashion model success

September 04, 2015

Predicting popularity and success in cultural markets is hard due to strong inequalities and inherent unpredictability. A good example comes from the world of fashion, where industry professionals face every season the difficult challenge of guessing who will be the next seasons’ top models. A rece...

Towards computational fact checking

June 18, 2015

Traditional fact checking by expert journalists cannot keep up with the enormous volume of information that is now generated online. Computational fact checking may significantly enhance our ability to evaluate the veracity of dubious information. In our paper, Computational Fact Checking from Know...

On the cover of Neuron

June 17, 2015

Work by Olaf Sporns, YY Ahn, Alessandro Flammini, and colleagues was featured on the cover of Neuron. In the paper Cooperative and Competitive Spreading Dynamics on the Human Connectome, the authors present a simulation model of spreading dynamics, previously applied in studies of social ne...

Winner of WICI Data Challenge

November 04, 2014

Congratulations to Przemyslaw Grabowicz, Luca Aiello, and Fil Menczer for winning the WICI Data Challenge. A prize of $10,000 CAD accompanies this award from the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo. The Challenge called for tools and methods th...

ACM Web Science 2014 Best Paper Award

June 11, 2014

Congratulations to Onur Varol, Emilio Ferrara, Chris Ogan, Fil Menczer, and Sandro Flammini for winning the ACM Web Science 2014 Best Paper Award with their paper Evolution of online user behavior during a social upheaval (preprint). In the paper, the authors study the pivotal role p...

Meme competition & virality

January 01, 2014

In our paper on Competition among memes in a world with limited attention in Nature Scientific Reports, Lilian Weng and coauthors Sandro Flammini, Alex Vespignani, and Fil Menczer report that we can explain the massive heterogeneity in the popularity and persistence of memes as deriv...

More tweets, more votes

November 27, 2013

Truthy team members Karissa McKelvey and Johan Bollen collaborated with IU Department of Sociology members Joseph DiGrazia and Fabio Rojas on the paper More Tweets, More Votes: Social Media as a Quantitative Indicator of Political Behavior published in PLoS ONE. The paper aimed to see if t...

Social bots and The Good Wife

November 24, 2013

A social bot is a computer algorithm that automatically produces content and interacts with humans on social media, trying to emulate and possibly alter their behavior. On August 11, 2013, the New York Times published an article by Ian Urbina with the headline: I Flirt and Tweet. Follow Me at #So...

Geography of Twitter trends

October 24, 2013

One might think that online social media, operating on a global scale via the Internet, wouldn't be affected much by geography. In fact, authors Emilio Ferrara, Onur Varol, Fil Menczer, and Sandro Flammini, show in their paper Traveling trends: social butterflies or frequent fliers? that o...