A scientific approach for understanding – and improving – the impact of Internet on Society
Fabrizio Sestini is a Senior Expert, Digital Social Innovation, DG CONNECT, European Commission
When All That Is Solid Melts into Digital Media
Since 2010 an extended wave of protests spread spontaneously in different areas of the world including countries in the Middle East and North Africa (the “Arab Spring”), Spain (“Indignados”), United States (“Occupy Wall Street”) and Mexico (“#yosoy132”), to name a few. The possibilities of success of a social protest is conditioned by the way strategies work in a given structural or institutional and conjunctural factors. In this sense, all these protests are contextually defined, however, they share in common that have been leaded by younger segments of the population, intensive users of digital media. The previous opened a debate on the role played by new technologies: to what extent the digital media influence the outbreak of a revolt and facilitate the formation of a social movement? Are digital media determinants or their role is overrated? The talk will explore specific cases testing the influence of mediating factors such as the political regime (democratic or authoritarian), the media system (open or closed) and the existence and features of civil society organisations (hierarchical or networked) supporting the protest. The main arguments defends that while digital media can, in certain contexts, be decisive in launching a protest, his role will be only instrumental in consolidating a social movement.
Yanina Welp is Regional Director for Latin America at the Centre for Research on Direct Democracy (c2d, University of Zurich). Her main areas of study are the mechanisms of direct and participatory democracy in Latin America, and digital media and politics.
Social Media Computational Verification Challenges, Approaches and Applications
The pervasive use of Online Social Networks (OSN) for networking, communication and search intandem with the ubiquitous availability of smartphones, which enables real-time multimedia capturing and sharing, have led to massive amounts of user-generated content and activities being amassed online, and made publicly available for analysis and mining. These properties transform social media into data sources of an extremely dynamic nature that reflect topics of interests, events, and the evolution of community opinion and focus. Social media processing offers a unique opportunity to structure and extract information and to benefit multiple areas ranging from new media experiences to journalism and marketing.
As grassroots and social media-based journalism becomes more widespread, the need to verify information coming from such channels becomes imperative. The objective of this talk is to explore the challenges involved in social media computational verification to automatically classify unreliable media content as fake or real. After presenting a generic conceptual architecture, there will be a focus on tweets around big events linking to images (fake or real) of which the reliability could be verified by independent online sources. The REVEALr platform will be demonstrated, a scalable and efficient content-based media crawling and indexing framework featuring a novel and resilient near-duplicate detection approach and intelligent content- and context-based aggregation capabilities (e.g. clustering, named entity extraction).
Dr. Yiannis Kompatsiaris is a Senior Researcher with CERTH/ITI leading the Multimedia, Knowledge and Social Media Analytics Laboratory. His research interests include semantic multimedia analysis, indexing and retrieval, social media and big data analysis, knowledge structures, reasoning and personalization for multimedia applications, eHealth, security and environmental applications.
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