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Category Archives: Blogs

Penetrating a Social Network: The Follow-back Problem

Penetrating a Social Network: The Follow-back Problem Fanyu Que, Krishnan Rajagopalan, Tauhid Zaman (Submitted on 8 Apr 2018) arXiv:1804.02608 [cs.SI] (or arXiv:1804.02608v1 [cs.SI] for this version)

“Modern threats have emerged from the prevalence of social networks. Hostile actors, such as extremist groups or foreign governments, utilize these networks to run propaganda campaigns with different aims. For extremists, these campaigns are designed for recruiting new members or inciting violence. For foreign governments, the aim may be to create instability in rival nations. Proper social network counter-measures are needed to combat these threats. Here we present one important counter-measure: penetrating social networks. This means making target users connect with or follow agents deployed in the social network. Once such connections are established with the targets, the agents can influence them by sharing content which counters the influence campaign. In this work we study how to penetrate a social network, which we call the follow-back problem. The goal here is to find a policy that maximizes the number of targets that follow the agent. We conduct an empirical study to understand what behavioral and network features affect the probability of a target following an agent. We find that the degree of the target and the size of the mutual neighborhood of the agent and target in the network affect this probability. Based on our empirical findings, we then propose a model for targets following an agent. Using this model, we solve the follow-back problem exactly on directed acyclic graphs and derive a closed form expression for the expected number of follows an agent receives under the optimal policy. We then formulate the follow-back problem on an arbitrary graph as an integer program. To evaluate our integer program based policies, we conduct simulations on real social network topologies in Twitter. We find that our polices result in more effective network penetration, with significant increases in the expected number of targets that follow the agent.”

Inside Facebook, Twitter and Google’s AI battle over your social lives

CNET: “When you sign up for Facebook on your phone, the app isn’t just giving you the latest updates and photos from your friends and family. In the background, it’s utilizing the phone’s gyroscope to detect subtle movements that come from breathing. It’s measuring how quickly you tap on the screen, and even looking at… Continue Reading

5 Tools to Help You Search the Archived Internet

Tech.Co – Adam Rowe: “The archived internet deserves more recognition. Online security has been a hot button topic in the tech community recently, with data scandals and privacy policy updates constantly driving the conversation. But, keeping the internet a stable and reliable network isn’t all about data security – it’s also about data preservation. Anything… Continue Reading

Ambrogi – In New Ethics Ruling On Blogging, ABA Opines Like It’s 1999

Robert Ambrogi – Above the Law – Having now decided to weigh in on this untimely topic, what does the ABA tell us? [This is a must read] “In the classic short story “Rip Van Winkle,” a man fell asleep in 1769 and awoke 20 years later, having slept through the Revolution. One wonders whether… Continue Reading

How to tell if you have fake Twitter followers (and how to remove them)

Poynter: “Spotting fake Twitter uses is generally fairly easy, though fakers have gotten better at it over time. Tools like TwitterAudit can automatically scan your followers, revealing the number of fake followers (for free) and allowing you to delete and block them (for $5 a month). Use Luca Hammer’s Account Analysis tool to look at accounts… Continue Reading

Wired – The Golden Age of Free Speech?

It’s the [Democracy-Poisoning] Golden Age of Free Speech: “..In today’s networked environment, when anyone can broadcast live or post their thoughts to a social network, it would seem that censorship ought to be impossible. This should be the golden age of free speech. And sure, it is a golden age of free speech—if you can… Continue Reading

Bloomberg and Twitter Launch TicToc 24/7 Global Social News Network

PR Newswire: “Bloomberg Media and Twitter today launched TicToc by Bloomberg, the first-ever 24/7 global news network built for a social media platform that targets the next generation of on-the-go, mobile-first news consumers. TicToc by Bloomberg combines the global news gathering capabilities of Bloomberg’s 2,700 journalists and analysts across 120 countries, with the digital power… Continue Reading

Twitter enables threading of tweets to increase length of postings

Twitter Blog: “…we’re thrilled to share that we’re making it simpler to thread Tweets together, and to find threads, so it’s easier to express yourself on Twitter and stay informed. We’ve made it easy to create a thread by adding a plus button in the composer, so you can connect your thoughts and publish your… Continue Reading

Politico – highest posting twitter accounts by US elected official and hashtags from activist orgs

“YEAR-END NUMBERS FROM TWITTER — Top tweeted U.S. elected officials: 1. @RealDonaldTrump … 2. @VP … 3. @SpeakerRyan … 4. @BarackObama … 5. @TedLieu … 6. @SenJohnMcCain … 7. @SenWarren … 8. @SenateMajLdr 9. … @SenSanders … 10. @SenSchumer … Top tweeted news outlets and the top tweeted journalist/commentator at each: 1. @FoxNews — @SeanHannity… Continue Reading

BeSpacific – ABA Best 100 Law Blogs 2017 and Expert Witness Best Legal Tech Blog 2017

I am starting this post with a deeply appreciative and respectful Thank You to Robert Ambrogi who has logged 15 years and counting of blogging at his legendary Law Sites. Bob’s unflagging support has been a touchstone for me as I too completed 15 years of blogging here at my site, BeSpacific. In a welcome follow-up… Continue Reading

Do Facebook and Google have control of their algorithms anymore? A sobering assessment and a warning

Poynter – Melody Kramer: “If you searched Google immediately after the recent mass shooting in Texas for information on the gunman, you would have seen what Justin Hendrix, the head of the NYC Media Lab, called a “misinformation gutter.” A spokesperson for Google later gave a statement to Gizmodo that placed blame squarely on an… Continue Reading

Twitter postings are now 240 characters for most users

Twitter blog posting, November 7, 2017: “In September, we launched a test that expanded the 140 character limit so every person around the world could express themselves easily in a Tweet. Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter. Looking at all the data,… Continue Reading