How to kill a Twitter Bot!

This friday we’re lucky to have visitor Emilio Ferrara presenting a talk on identifying twitter bots. Emilio’s work has been covered extensively in the media, for example MIT Technology Review’s How to spot a social bot on twitterDetails below:

  • Date: Friday September 12th, 2014
  • Time: 11:00-noon
  • Place: DTU Building 321, first floor lab space
  • Speaker: Emilio Ferrara (@jabawack), Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Indiana University Bloomington
  • Title: The rise of social bots: fighting deception and misinformation on social media
  • Abstract: One of the classic problems in Computer Science, recognizing the behavior of a human from that of a computer algorithm (proposed by Alan Turing), has suddenly become very relevant in the context of social media. Limits to the expressive power of humans and real incentives abound to develop human-mimicking software agents called social bots. These elusive entities wildly populate social media ecosystems, often going unnoticed among the population of real people. Bots can be harmful, aiming at persuading, smearing, or deceiving, and for such a reason our research aims at developing efficient systems to detect them. In my talk I will discuss the characteristics of modern, sophisticated social bots, and how their presence can endanger online ecosystems and our society. Characteristics related to content, network, sentiment, and temporal patterns of activity are imitated by bots but at the same time can help discriminate synthetic behaviors from human ones, yielding signatures of engineered social tampering. I will present “Bot or Not?”, a social bot detection framework prototype developed at Indiana University under the Truthy project. My talk will conclude depicting future scenarios and discussing related problems, such as that of studying persuasion campaigns on social media, how they spread, and how we can promptly detect and potentially hinder their diffusion.


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