On Friday, September 27th, doctoral candidate Adewale Obadimu successfully defended his PhD proposal, “Assessing the Role of Social Media Platforms in the Propagation of Toxicity.”  Obadimu defined toxicity as any “rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment that is likely to make people leave a discussion.” He argued that users who exhibit this toxic behavior will become worse over time, and that anyone could potentially display this type of behavior online.  His research aims to answer specific questions: Are toxic users clustered/segregated in an online discussion? Is toxicity contagious? Can we leverage toxic signals for predictions? To begin his research, Obadimu focused on a sample of userRead More →

On Friday, September 20th, doctoral candidate Kiran Kumar Bandeli presented his ongoing research on computational narrative analysis on blogs and social media at the EIT Colloquium.  “Blogs in particular act as virtual spaces where narratives are framed. It is therefore important to study and understand the way information is said by the actors on social media platforms,” Bandeli explained. Narratives are organized, long-lasting themes and ideas that persist in discourses. It is challenging to extract narratives from social media, and even more so to interpret them. However, developing a more effective way to study these narratives carries great implications, paving the way for strategic communicationRead More →

On Monday, September 23, participants of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program made a stop at UA Little Rock. Individuals from seven different countries spent the morning speaking with members of the COSMOS team to learn about the broad range of research taking place, particularly regarding social cyber security and misinformation on social media. The countries represented include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Montenegro, Romania, and Tajikistan. Delegates learned about tools COSMOS Cosmographers have developed in order to study disinformation on social media platforms. Blogtrackers is a tool designed by Dr. Nitin Agarwal in 2009 to to track and analyze blogs and gainRead More →

Ph.D. student Kiran Kumar Bandeli has been invited to speak about “Computational Narrative Analysis on Blogs/Social Media.” The colloquium will be held in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) Building, Room 217 at 3:00pm CST. You can attend in person or utilize the link below to view the presentation from any device with online access: https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/72ac95525d524120812cd25254122fbb Abstract of Talk: Social media is widely used to express views and share opinions with others. With the availability of inexpensive and ubiquitous mass communication tools like social media, creating narratives, false information and propaganda is both convenient and effective. Social media users leverage this platformRead More →

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 →

Several years ago, I heard of UA Little Rock for the first time.  My husband was working closely with Dr. Agarwal on social network analysis research.  The work caught my interest and the possibility of earning my doctoral degree through UA Little Rock’s online program got me hooked.  Yes, it took some time to get all my ducks in a row by preparing for the GRE, getting all required documents and then actually applying for my PhD, but when the acceptance email arrived, I was thrilled.   Fast forward a few months: I am ready to start my second semester. A few more are downRead More →