COSMOS director and Arkansas Research Alliance fellow Dr. Nitin Agarwal spoke about deviant online behavior at UA Little Rock Downtown on Wednesday, March 13.  This behavior includes, but is not limited to, deviant mobs of the Internet, disinformation campaigns, bots, trolls and computational propaganda techniques. Dr. Agarwal presented examples of how the spread of misinformation online affects the real world from fueling hatred that leads to violence to spreading incorrect medical information that will result in health risks. The spread of “fake news” can also influence voters, create confusion during disasters and cause hysteria of the masses.   Deviant online behavior spreads over many platforms.Read More →

Researchers at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are studying how social bots influence the delivery of news via social media during major disasters.  The study examines the role of social bots – automated Twitter accounts that attempt to affect or influence the behaviors of others – and their coordination and communication patterns with complex organizational structures to disseminate information during four natural disasters that occurred in 2017. The paper, “Analyzing Social Bots and their Coordination during Natural Disasters,” will be discussed at the SBP BRiMS 2018 International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation to be heldRead More →

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor has received $230,000 to help defend the United States against the use of social bots.  Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair of Information Science, received the grant to develop a socio-computational model for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to detect the online presence of social bots. These bots automatically generate messages that persuade social media users on particular issues, ideas, and campaigns. Agarwal is working with Intelligent Automation, Inc., a company based in Rockville, Maryland, that specializes in research and development for federal agencies and corporations in the United States. Agarwal willRead More →