COSMOS began studying election-related social media content in 2019. To examine the possible use of a hostile online media campaign orchestrated to influence the 2019 Canadian Federal election, researchers used an in-house application called YouTubeTracker to collect more than 6,000 videos and more than one million comments. They combined multiple social media analysis techniques, social cyber forensic methods, content analysis, and mathematical-sociological constructs to determine whether online influence campaigns were orchestrated on YouTube.  “We have been extending our focus from blogs and Twitter to YouTube because the popular and interactive video sharing platform with more than one billion users has become a tool to spreadRead More →

We are pleased to announce that the paper “A Framework towards Computational Narrative Analysis on Blogs” written by Kiran Kumar Bandeli, Muhammad Nihal Hussain, and Nitin Agarwal has been published in The 3rd International Workshop on Narrative Extraction from Texts (Text2Story’20) co-located with 42nd European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2020). The paper introduces the idea of extracting narratives automatically on blogs to provide a better situational awareness. Narratives can be represented as semantic triplets of actors and their actions towards other actors. This is important because it provides sociologists/political scientists to gain situational awareness by tracking different opinions, political views, and narratives as theyRead More →

Joseph Kready and Thomas Marcoux won $10,000 by placing third in the Walton Family Foundation Graduate Division of the 20th annual Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The duo competed as team Face-To-Face introducing an innovative technology that creates Avatar-based chatbots that replace existing text-based chatbot solutions. Face-to-Face is the first University of Arkansas at Little Rock team to place in the Graduate Division since 2009. This year, the competition was conducted with the help of videoconferencing technologies. 18 teams from eight Arkansas universities virtually presented their innovative ideas and business plan which were judged by volunteers from Arkansas’s private and public sector business,Read More →

Congratulations to Joseph Kready for being accepted to the 2020 Social Networks and Health Fellowship program at Duke University from May 11-15, 2020. The program is hosted by Duke Network Analysis Center (DNAC) and the Duke Population Research Institute, with support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Joseph will be participating in the week-long training course, covering a wide range of social network analysis topics related to studying health behaviors, including data collection, influence, network visualization, and agent-based modeling. He will be matched with a mentor, who will advise Joseph for a year to work on his ongoingRead More →

Muhammad Nihal Hussain successfully defended his doctoral dissertation “Role of Multiple Social Media Platforms in Online Campaigns.”  His committee consisted of Dr. Nitin Agarwal (chair), Dr. Samer Al-khateeb, Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, Dr. John Talburt, and Dr. Ningning Wu.  Hussain studied cross-media information dissemination, in which content posted on one platform is shared to another to boost visibility. During his time at COSMOS, he has analyzed information operations campaigns conducted against NATO exercises. Throughout these campaigns, information actors utilized several platforms to disseminate content.  “Most researchers focus on one platform to study disinformation, but dissemination strategies have evolved,” Hussain said. “Multiple social media platforms are usedRead More →

We are pleased to announce that Zachary Stine’s paper “Characterizing the language-production dynamics of social media users” has been published in the latest issue of Social Network Analysis and Mining, a multidisciplinary journal serving researchers and practitioners in academia and industry.    Abstract: In this paper, we propose a characterization of social media users based on language usage over time in order to make more rigorous the notions of organic and inorganic online behavior. This characterization describes the extent to which a user’s word usage within a particular time period subverts expectations based on preceding time periods. To do this, we adapt the use of anRead More →

Kiran Kumar Bandeli successfully defended his doctoral dissertation “A Framework Toward Computational Narrative Analysis on Blogs/Social Media” Monday, November 25, 2019.  In attendance were committee members Dr. Nitin Agarwal (chair), Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, Dr. John Talburt, and Dr. Ningning Wu as well as members of COSMOS.  During his time at COSMOS, Kiran quickly familiarize himself with blogs.  “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,” Kiran explained. Narratives are organized, long-lasting themes and ideas that persist in discourses. It is challenging toRead More →

Billy Spann successfully defended his master’s thesis “Structural Decomposition of Deviant Cyber Flash Mobs on Twitter Using Focal Structure Analysis” Friday, November 22, 2019.  In attendance were committee members Dr. Nitin Agarwal (chair), Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, and Dr. Dan Berleant as well as members of COSMOS.  Since he joined COSMOS in the summer of 2018, Billy has developed an interest in studying collection action groups. He familiarized himself with the deviant cyber flash mobs (DCFM) model developed by Dr. Samer Al-khateeb and Dr. Agarwal and used it as a stepping stone for his work.  The goal of his research was to use DCFM structural networkRead More →

Anal Kanti Roy successfully defended his master’s thesis “Automation of Crawling Blogosphere based on Pattern Recognition” Thursday, November 21, 2019.  In attendance were committee members Dr. Nitin Agarwal (chair), Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, and Dr. Serpil Tokdemir Yuce as well as members of COSMOS.  Over the past two years, Roy has become very familiar with extracting online content. As COSMOS’ leading crawling expert, Roy has played a fundamental role in data extraction for various COSMOS research projects.   The motivation behind his work was not only the sheer volume of content published on blogs,  but also the influence these blogs can have on the public. Blogs areRead More →