Do you want to be friends with this person?
Almost every online deception, fraud and scam – even propaganda and misinformation campaigns – begins with a fake social media profile. How do fakers get real people to agree to be friends?
A scene from Doug Engelbart’s groundbreaking 1968 computer demo.
Doug Engelbart Institute
A 90-minute presentation in 1968 showed off the earliest desktop computer system. In the process it introduced the idea that technology could make individuals better – if government funded research.
Civic groups like the Boy Scouts are likely under attack by Russian agents – and likely don’t know it.
Russia is trying to create social tension in the US to boost its own strength on the world stage. That includes targeting society itself.
Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
Effective political campaigns use three main online strategies; research identifies which of them is most effective.
They may look similar, but online trolls act differently.
Some behaviors might help tell propaganda-spewing trolls apart from regular internet users, but the main protection is for people to think more critically about online information.
Hey Google: How’s your news?
Google News does not differentiate search results according to users' politics – but it does favor mainstream news sites, which are seen as leaning left, and doesn't clearly disclose how its algorithms work.
Facebook wants to improve trust.
Facebook users may be flagging news as fake just because they disagree with it.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify on Capitol Hill.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
The strengths of social media are also its weaknesses. Facebook must acknowledge that it has transformed from a startup company into a powerful social force.
The social network is stopping researchers accessing its data – with significant consequences.
What causes a media business to bar the door?
While they may talk about 'free speech,' businesses make decisions about their content based on a very different set of principles.
How much do these Mumbai commuters trust what they’re seeing online?
Three trends suggest people in less developed nations – who are coming online in greater numbers – use and trust the internet very differently those in more developed economies.
People who share potential misinformation on Twitter (in purple) rarely get to see corrections or fact-checking (in orange).
Shao et al.
Information on social media can be misleading because of biases in three places – the brain, society and algorithms. Scholars are developing ways to identify and display the effects of these biases.
A snap poll intended to boost the Turkish president's power has stirred up online opposition to his increasing authoritarianism.
Balancing personal privacy with detailed insights.
Researchers analyze social media data to gain useful insights into modern society and culture. But it's important to protect users' privacy. How can both ends meet?
How does searching affect voting?
Social media sites aren't the only online systems that can secretly influence people's votes. Search engines can too and may be even more successful – and undetectable.
Policemen posted to prevent a campaign rally in Zanzibar in 2005.
In Tanzania today, political space has shrunk to the point where protests are suppressed before they emerge
What will he decide to do?
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Facebook says it's going to continue to respond to widespread concerns about its practices and role in society. Researchers of privacy and online trust offer ideas for immediate action.
Does this man understand how his company can be a responsible member of society?
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Facebook is realizing it has broad obligations to society. Here's how it could start meeting them.
Social media companies combine many pieces of information into a complex digital profile.
For years, watchdogs have warned of the potential problems of sharing data with online companies. The Facebook data crisis has made these concerns much more real. What should be done now?
We love to take personality tests, but is it time to think more about the corporate interests behind them?
Personality tests played a central role in the recent Facebook scandal over corporate harvesting of personal data. Why are businesses so interested in them?