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  Networked Systems Seminars

Friday, February 28, 2020
Disinformation, Social Algorithms, and Suspicious Accounts

Felix Wu, UC Davis
11:00am, DBH 6011 [Host: Gene]

The popularity of social media systems such as Facebook or Twitter provides us an opportunity for a global, large-scale data analytic study regarding both people and the content triggering their interactions. While this trend enables us to explore social sciences computationally, it has also inspired computer scientists to adopt ideas from social sciences into the fundamentals of information processing. In this talk, as a computer scientist myself, I like to articulate this linkage between social sciences and computer science in the context of Disinformation (a.k.a., Fake News). First, I will present our results in analyzing the spread of content for past elections and political movements on public social media forum. We are particularly interested in answering questions such as "why, at this time, did this group of accounts, launch this particular content under this page or this post?" The second issue is to study social informatics in the context of manipulated social algorithm for recent events such as the protest in Hong Kong. We will discuss is under the general theme of interference between the social interactions among Social Media system users and the system artifacts being introduced, intentionally or unintentionally, by the service providers. We will argue that, at least for the near future, re-designing social algorithm is the only practical resolution to Disinformation.

Prof. S. Felix Wu has been doing “experimental” system research, i.e., building prototype systems to justify and validate novel architectural concepts. Since 1995, he and his students/postdocs have built many experimental systems in the areas of fault tolerant network, IPSec/VPN security policy, attack source tracing, wireless network security, intrusion detection and response, visual information analytics, and, more recently, future Internet design. An article titled "Networking: Four ways to reinvent the Internet" published in Nature 463 (February 3rd, 2010, by Katharine Gammon) provided a brief but very nice cover about his primary thought on a Social-network-based future Internet architecture. As a computer scientist, he strongly believes that thoroughly considering the factor of human relationships and social community is necessary for any IT innovation. Therefore, his primary research objective, before he retires, is to help and contribute to the information technology advancement that would truly help our human society. As an initial step, he recently released the SINCERE (Social Interactive Networking and Conversation Entropy Ranking Engine) search engine under http://www.sincere.se, which is trying to help our Internet society to discover "interesting/unusual" discussions. Prof. Wu received his BS from Tunghai University, Taiwan, in 1985, both MS and PhD from Columbia University in 1989 and 1995, all in Computer Science. He is currently Professor of Computer Science at UC Davis.

 
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