Steve Schifferes, City University

Steve Schifferes Photo

Title: Social Media, Journalism and the Public

Abstract: The rise of social media is seen by many as a fundamental change in the relationship between journalists and the public. But that debate has echoes in the past, where technological revolutions that created the mass media led to fundamental rethinking about the relationship between the public and the press. At the same time, the history of these technological revolutions suggest that they have unexpected consequences for the development of news – and that it takes decades for the nature of those changes to become clear. We will draw on the parallels between the current period and other periods of historic change in journalism to examine what is new in today’s world of social media and what continuities there are with the past. We will discuss the changing relationship between the public and the press and how it is being continuously reinterpreted and address the questions of whether we are the beginning or end of a process of revolutionary media change.

Bio: Professor Schifferes, Director of the Financial Journalism MA at City University London, has a wide-ranging background in business and finance journalism, both for television and online. Professor Schifferes was economics correspondent for BBC News Online.Previously he was a television producer for programmes including On the Record and the Money Programme (BBC) and Weekend World (LWT) as well as a documentary film maker (Breadline Britain, Fortune, and The Making of Modern London for LWT). Professor Schifferes was educated at Harvard and Warwick and has been a fellow at Columbia and Oxford. He is the principal investigator at City for the EU Social Sensor project.

Filippo Menczer, Indiana University

Title: The Spread of Misinformation in Social Media

Abstract: As social media become major channels for the diffusion of news and information, they are also increasingly attractive and targeted for abuse and manipulation. This talk overviews ongoing network analytics, data mining, and modeling efforts to understand the spread of misinformation online and offline. I present machine learning methods to detect astroturf and social bots, and outline initial steps toward computational fact-checking, as well as theoretical models to study how truthful and truthy facts compete for our collective attention. These efforts will be framed by a case study in which, ironically, our own research became the target of a coordinated disinformation campaign. Joint work with many members and collaborators of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research at Indiana University ( This research is supported by the National Science Foundation, McDonnell Foundation, and DARPA. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these funding agencies.

Bio: Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics and computer science, adjunct professor of physics, and a member of the cognitive science program at Indiana University, Bloomington. He holds a Laurea in Physics from the University of Rome and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Menczer has been the recipient of Fulbright, Rotary Foundation, and NATO fellowships, and a Career Award from the National Science Foundation. He currently serves as director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and is a Fellow of the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation in Torino, Italy, a Senior Research Fellow of The Kinsey Institute, and an ACM Distinguished Scientist. He previously served as division chair in the IUB School of Informatics and Computing, and was Fellow-at-large of the Santa Fe Institute. His research is supported by the NSF, DARPA, and the McDonnell Foundation. It focuses on Web science, social networks, social media, social computation, Web mining, distributed and intelligent Web applications, and modeling of complex information networks. His work has been covered in many US and international news sources, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, BBC, Nature, and Science.

Nicholas Diakopoulos, University of Maryland

Nicholas Diakopoulos

Title: Enhancing Journalistic Curation of Online News Comments

Abstract: National news outlets routinely publish articles that attract hundreds and even thousands of user comments. These comments often provide valuable feedback and critique, personal perspectives, new information and expertise, and opportunities for discussion (not to mention profanity and vitriol). The varying quality of comments demands a high level of moderation and curatorial attention in order to cultivate a successful online community around news. Amongst publishers there is a growing awareness that finding and publicly highlighting high quality comments can in turn promote the general quality of the discourse. Further journalistic value can be gleaned by identifying and developing new sources of information and expertise from comments. In this talk I will present our user-centered approach to an editorially-aware visual analytics system that supports moderators in curating high quality news comments at scale. The ramifications of algorithmically infused social media moderation will be discussed in terms of journalistic ideals and norms of free speech and inclusion.

Bio: Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park College of Journalism with courtesy appointments in the College of Information Studies and Department of Computer Science. He directs the Computational Journalism Lab (CJL) and is a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at UMD, and is a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. His research is in computational and data journalism with an emphasis on algorithmic accountability, narrative data visualization, and social computing in the news. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech where he co-founded the program in Computational Journalism. Before UMD he worked as a researcher at Columbia University, Rutgers University, and CUNY studying the intersections of information science, innovation, and journalism. Nick can be contacted via email at, and is online at @ndiakopoulos and

Moor Naamaan, Cornell Tech

Title: The Past and Future of Systems for Current Events

Abstract: We have worked since 2008, in both research and startup settings, to tackle key challenges in making social media information about events accessible and usable. These challenges include detecting new events in a stream of content, identifying content related to events and organizing event content to be presented in a ways that get better when new content is added. Indeed, several recent commercial services (Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat) attempt to better present “moments” and other trending events. Still, I argue that there are no current systems that provide a coherent summary or narrative representation of event content from social media at scale using automated or semi-automated tools. My own startup that addressed this very problem moved away from it despite initial success. I will discuss our early research, show how it led to the startup, comment on what the startup (which recently pivoted away from events) did well and where it failed to deliver on this promise, and highlight open challenges and directions for the future work and research in this area.

Bio: Mor Naaman is an associate professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Institute at Cornell Tech, where he is the founder of the Connective Media hub, leads a research group focused on social technologies, and directs the AOL Connected Experiences laboratory. His research applies multidisciplinary methods to gain a better understanding of people and their use of social tech; extract insights about people, technology and society from social media and other sources of social data, and develop new social technologies as well as novel tools to make social data more accessible and usable in various settings. Previously, Mor was on the faculty at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information, led a research team at Yahoo! Research Berkeley, received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Stanford University InfoLab, and played professional basketball for Hapoel Tel Aviv. He is a recipient of a NSF Early Faculty CAREER Award, research awards and grants from numerous corporations including AOL and Google, and multiple best paper awards.