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 →

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 →

On Friday, August 30th, doctoral student Zachary Stine presented research from an ongoing comparative study regarding online religious communities.  Stine and fellow researchers Dr. Nitin Agarwal and Dr. James Deitrick, used Reddit to try to understand the differences and similarities between the religious cultures Buddhism and Christianity by analyzing their discussion text for specific lexicons on a more structural level.   Stine described using topic modeling  in order to look at how both communities discuss certain topics. Buddhist and Christian communities were chosen simply because they had the largest amount of discussion text available. The researchers anticipated possible problems with this study, particularly the issue ofRead More →

COSMOS research about the evolution of botnets is featured in a seven book set titled “Large Scale Combat Operations” published by the Army University Press. In chapter 10 of the book “Perceptions Are Reality: Historical Case Studies of Information Operations in Large-Scale Combat Operations”, authors Rick Galeano, Katrin Galeano, Dr. Samer Al-khateeb, Dr. Nitin Agarwal, and James Turner examine social media botnets and their evolving behaviors. Through detailed analysis of botnet use in Ukraine and the Baltics, they demonstrate that bots can be used to spread narratives, alter perceptions of viewpoint popularity, and ultimately trigger behavior supportive to military end states. “Over the past fewRead More →

During a news conference at the state capitol with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) inducted Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Information Science and director of the Collaboratorium of Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS), as an ARA Fellow for his contributions to research in Arkansas. “We are honored to have these immensely talented researchers join the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows,” said Jerry Adams, ARA president and chief executive officer. Since its launch in 2014, the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows program recognizes leaders in research who are currently working at one of the five state’s research universitiesRead More →

Dr. Nitin Agarwal was invited to conduct a panel on Emerging Digital Services in Cyber Environments during the IARIA Eighth International Conference on Social Media Technologies, Communication, and Informatics (SOTICS 2018) in Nice, France. On Tuesday, October 16, Dr. Agarwal moderated the panel that featured subject matter experts from the Institute of Information Systems at Hof University (GER), Paraíba State University (BRA), Politehnica University of Bucharest (ROU), and University of Gloucestershire (UK).Read More →

Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Information Science and director of the Collaboratorium of Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS), was inducted as a fellow of the Arkansas Academy of Computing for his contributions to computing in Arkansas on Nov. 2 in Fayetteville. “It is an honor to be recognized as a fellow of the Arkansas Academy of Computing,” Agarwal said. “I am looking forward to collaborating with the great thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and computational scientists to advance the discipline of computing and contribute towards innovation in the state of Arkansas.” Founded in 2006, the Arkansas Academy of ComputingRead More →

COSMOS team members Karen Watts and Michael DiCicco have made winning hackathons a hobby of sorts. On September 29th, 2018, Karen and Michael along with Brenda Nyangweso formed a team named sudoIntellectual that went up against 21other teams at the UA Blockchain Hackathon and emerged as winners of the J.B. Hunt Use Case challenge. Blockchain technology is the biggest buzzword in the recent times. It rose to prominence in 2009 as the technology that underpins bitcoin. Blockchain is a public ledger for every transaction that might take place between two or more parties. Today, there is a growing interest in making use of this distributed,Read More →

When I began my studies at UA Little Rock, pursuing a PhD degree was not even on my radar. During the last year of my master’s studies, I joined Dr. Agarwal‘s team and started learning about malicious social bots and the dangers they pose to society. Believe it or not, I truly enjoyed exploring this area of research. Dr. Agarwal advised me to explore the PhD program. I spoke to my family about my decision to pursue a higher degree and they couldn’t be more proud. My mother said, “You will be the first PhD in our family and you have my full support. ItRead More →