COSMOS is pushing the boundaries of information behavior research with its new publication about the dark side of information operations, which is the negative phenomenon associated with the management of information in the online environment.  In the journal article “Combining advanced computational social science and graph theoretic techniques to reveal adversarial information operations” doctoral students Mustafa Alassad and Billy Spann and COSMOS director Dr. Nitin Agarwal introduce a method to identify malicious behavior and the actors responsible for propagating this behavior via online social networks. The researchers presented advanced socio-technical methods such as deviant cyber flash mob (DCFM) detection and focal structure analysis (FSA) thatRead More →

Tuja Khaund will be speaking at today’s UALR’s EIT Colloquium. Her talk “Information Actors on Social Media: Who are they and how do they coordinate?” will start at 3:00 PM CST today, Friday, April 10. To view her presentation live online, visit: https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/1c555535701140c8a156f8451c9baa20 Abstract of Talk: Online social networks (OSNs) are a major component of societal digitalization. OSNs alter how people communicate, make decisions, form or change their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Thus, they can now impact financial systems and political communication at scale. As one type of OSN, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. serve as outlets for users to convey information toRead More →

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a partnership with the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR) and the Arkansas Research Alliance to identify and track scam websites and social media misinformation related to COVID-19 that have rapidly spread with the pandemic.  Misinformation posted on websites and social media has been spreading quickly. False claims, misleading information and the sale of fake cures and treatments undermine Arkansas’ efforts to combat this disease and present a hazard to consumers’ physical, financial and online safety. The collaboration with COSMOS offers a new avenue to quickly identify the bad actors who want to spread misinformation or steal consumers’Read More →

Ph.D. candidate Adewale (Wale) Obadimu and graduate students Oluwaseun Johnson and Uche Umoga participated in the 2020 CRA URMD Grad Cohort Workshop which took place March 5-7, 2020 in Austin, Texas. The three-day event was hosted by the Computing Research Association (CRA), an organization dedicated to bringing industry, government and academia together to support research and advanced education in computing. This year, the CRA Grad Cohort for Underrepresented Minorities and Persons with Disabilities (URMD) Workshop took place for the third time, attracting students from schools across the United States and Canada. CRA covered the travel expenses for all selected students that collectively represent a diverseRead More →

United States Senator John Boozman visited UA Little Rock on Friday, November 15, 2019. He met with COSMOS director Dr. Nitin Agarwal and several researchers to gain insights about the work COSMOS is conducting.  COSMOS has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop ways to track emerging cyber-social threats and strengthen social cybersecurity research infrastructure. Dr. Agarwal presented his talk “Deviant Mobs of the Internet: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures” during which he discussed how social media analytics research is used to track malicious activities, including the dissemination of propaganda, hoaxes, and disinformation to influence beliefs and behaviors. “WeRead More →

Richard Young successfully defended his information science master’s project “Chromaweaver: A Moviebarcode Analysis Tool for Youtube” Friday, November 8, 2019.  In attendance were committee members Dr. Nitin Agarwal (chair), Dr. Bruce Bauer and Dr. Joseph Williams as well as members of COSMOS. Richard is a remote student currently living in Spain and did his defense via Google Hangout.  For his project, Richard explored moviebarcode image processing techniques that can be integrated into the COSMOS application YoutubeTracker. The end result is the standalone application Chromaweaver, which serves as a moviebarcode analysis tool for Youtube videos. Richard documented his work for the project as a blog. BeingRead More →

Congratulations to Zachary Stine for being accepted to the 2019-2021 HASTAC Scholars Program. HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is a student-driven community of graduate and undergraduate students who are working at the intersection of technology and the arts, humanities and sciences.  Stine joined around 100 new scholars who have been accepted into the two-year cohort of the program. As a HASTAC Scholar, he will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with others who share his research interests in religious studies and Natural Language Processing (NLP) while contributing to the program by blogging about his research.  During the two-year fellowship program,Read More →

COSMOS director Dr. Nitin Agarwal participated in the two-day workshop “Understanding and Countering Online Falsehoods and Influence Operations” organized by the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a research unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  CENS brought together experts from academia, industry and governments from across the globe to share their insights and experiences.  The goal was to gain a better understanding of the issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, how organizations and countries deal with these issues and how problems can be countered by using existing and new means. As an expert from academia,Read More →

On October 22, 2019, Dr. Nitin Agarwal presented his research “Exploring Deviant Hacker Networks On Social Media Platforms” during the Artificial Intelligence for Cybersecurity session of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) annual meeting in Seattle, WA.   The study, co-authored by COSMOS-alumni Dr. Samer Al-khateeb, focuses on malicious activities of hacker groups on social media. The authors call these groups Deviant Hacker Networks (DHNs). To gain a better understanding of DHNs and how they communicate with each other, the authors studied the connection between different DHNs on Twitter.  The goal was to identify their key actors: which actors were well-connected, whichRead More →

Doctoral student Zachary Stine’s article “Characterizing the Language‑Production Dynamics of Social Media Users” was accepted for publication by Springer’s Social Network Analysis and Mining (SNAM) on September 28, 2019. The article, co-authored by Dr. Nitin Agarwal, was published online on October 3. 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 ofRead More →