The Spread of Misinformation in Social Media

Wednesdays@NICO | 12:00-1:00 PM, September 28, 2016 | Chambers Hall, Lower Level

Filippo Menczer - Professor of Informatics and Computer Science and Director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, Indiana University.



As social media become major channels for the diffusion of news and information, they are also increasingly attractive and targeted for abuse and manipulation. This talk overviews ongoing network analytics, data mining, and modeling efforts to understand the spread of misinformation online and offline. I present machine learning methods to detect astroturf and social bots, and outline initial steps toward computational fact-checking, as well as theoretical models to study how truthful and truthy facts compete for our collective attention. These efforts will be framed by a case study in which, ironically, our own research became the target of a coordinated disinformation campaign. Joint work with many members and collaborators of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and the Indiana University Network Science Institute. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation, McDonnell Foundation, and DARPA. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these funding agencies.


Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics and computer science, adjunct professor of physics, and a member of the cognitive science program at Indiana University, Bloomington. He holds a Laurea in Physics from the University of Rome and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Menczer has been the recipient of Fulbright, Rotary Foundation, and NATO fellowships, and a Career Award from the National Science Foundation. He currently serves as director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and is a Fellow of the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation in Torino, Italy, a Senior Research Fellow of the Kinsey Institute, and an ACM Distinguished Scientist. He previously served as division chair in the IUB School of Informatics and Computing, and was Fellow-at-large of the Santa Fe Institute. His research is supported by the NSF, DARPA, and the McDonnell Foundation. It focuses on Web science, social networks, social media, social computation, Web mining, distributed and intelligent Web applications, and modeling of complex information networks. His work has been covered in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, USA Today, The Economist, Nature, Science, The Washington Post, Wired, The Atlantic, BBC, and many other US and international news sources.


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