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  • Web Communities

    Wed, Aug 21, 2019 @ 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Savvas Zannettou, Cyprus University of Technology

    Talk Title: Web Communities

    Abstract: The Web consists of numerous Web communities, news sources, and services, which are usually exploited by various entities for the dissemination of false information. Yet, we lack tools and techniques to effectively track the propagation of information across the multiple diverse communities and to capture and model the interplay between them. Also, we lack a basic understanding of what the role and impact of some emerging communities and services on the Web information ecosystem is, and more importantly, how such communities are exploited by bad actors (e.g., state- sponsored trolls) that spread false and weaponized information. In this talk, we will present numerous studies where we follow a data-driven cross-platform quantitative approach that analyzes billions of posts from Twitter, Reddit, 4chan Politically Incorrect board (/pol/), and Gab, to shed light into: 1) how news and image-based memes travel from one Web community to another and how we can model and quantify the influence between the various Web communities; 2) what is the role and impact of new emerging Web communities (e.g., Gab); and 3) how popular Web communities are exploited by state-sponsored actors for the sole purpose of spreading disinformation and sowing public discord.

    Savvas Zannettou is a PhD candidate from Cyprus University of Technology, co-advised by Dr. Michael Sirivianos and Dr. Jeremy Blackburn. In 2014 and 2016 he received respectively the BSc and
    MSc degrees in Computer Engineering from Cyprus University of Technology. During 2014, he was a Research Intern at NEC Labs Europe for 6 months where he worked on Software-Defined Networks.
    During 2017 and 2018, he was a Research Intern at Telefonica Research for 12 months. He is primarily interested in applying large-scale cross-platform quantitative analysis to understand emerging socio-technical issues like the spread of disinformation/misinformation and hateful content across the Web.
    During his PhD, he received two first-author best paper awards: one at IMC 2018 and one at Cybersafety workshop (co-located with WWW).

    Host: Shrikanth Narayanan (Viterbi), Emilion Ferrara (ISI)

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Tanya Acevedo-Lam/EE-Systems

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