COSMOS members meet each Friday in the conference room to discuss current research lab activities and present either a research article or book chapter.

Event Information:

  • Fri

    Deviant Mobs of the Internet: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures

    2:00 pmThe Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences

    Dr. Nitin Agarwal has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Friday, November 15, 2019
    2:00 PM CST
    The Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences
    2801 South University Avenue
    Little Rock, Arkansas 72204

    Dr. Nitin Agarwal will be presenting his talk "Deviant Mobs of the Internet: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures" in The Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences' conference room.

    Social media platforms are largely considered as positive vehicle of change. However, more recently, they have been used to conduct a variety of malicious activities, including dissemination of propaganda, hoaxes, and disinformation to influence beliefs and behaviors. Availability of inexpensive and ubiquitous mass communication tools has made the coordination of such malicious activities even more convenient and effective. This talk will touch upon our various research efforts demonstrating the mechanics of disinformation campaigns, i.e., conducted primarily through blogs (and vlogs) but strategically linking to a variety of other social media platforms (viz., YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, VKontakte, WhatsApp, etc.). We examine the critical link among social media platforms and shed light on different media orchestration strategies. Using socio-computational models that leverage social network analysis and cyber forensic analysis, prominent information actors and leading coordinators of disinformation campaigns (akin to flash mobs) are identified. These models are grounded in the fundamental social science theory of collective action that allow us to measure the power of such coordinating units. Further, the talk will highlight tactics, techniques, and procedures used by deviant groups to amplify disinformation including the use of machine-driven communications (MADCOMS), e.g., botnets, commenter mobs, blog farms, coordinated clickbait, coordinated deep fakes, in order to effect algorithmic and psychological manipulations. Of the several case studies the research methodology has been applied to, the talk will illustrate disinformation campaigns pertaining to the Indo-Pacific region, Baltic region, and NATO’s military exercises in Europe. The research has been transitioned into publicly available software programs, viz., Blogtrackers and YouTubeTracker that will be showcased during the talk.