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Influence estimation on social media networks using causal inference

Published in:
Proc. IEEE Statistical Signal Processing (SSP) Workshop, 10-13 June 2018.

Summary

Estimating influence on social media networks is an important practical and theoretical problem, especially because this new medium is widely exploited as a platform for disinformation and propaganda. This paper introduces a novel approach to influence estimation on social media networks and applies it to the real-world problem of characterizing active influence operations on Twitter during the 2017 French presidential elections. The new influence estimation approach attributes impact by accounting for narrative propagation over the network using a network causal inference framework applied to data arising from graph sampling and filtering. This causal framework infers the difference in outcome as a function of exposure, in contrast to existing approaches that attribute impact to activity volume or topological features, which do not explicitly measure nor necessarily indicate actual network influence. Cramér-Rao estimation bounds are derived for parameter estimation as a step in the causal analysis, and used to achieve geometrical insight on the causal inference problem. The ability to infer high causal influence is demonstrated on real-world social media accounts that are later independently confirmed to be either directly affiliated or correlated with foreign influence operations using evidence supplied by the U.S. Congress and journalistic reports.
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Summary

Estimating influence on social media networks is an important practical and theoretical problem, especially because this new medium is widely exploited as a platform for disinformation and propaganda. This paper introduces a novel approach to influence estimation on social media networks and applies it to the real-world problem of characterizing...

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XLab: early indications & warning from open source data with application to biological threat

Published in:
Proc. 51st Hawaii Int. Conf. on System Sciences, HICSS 2018, pp. 944-953.

Summary

XLab is an early warning system that addresses a broad range of national security threats using a flexible, rapidly reconfigurable architecture. XLab enables intelligence analysts to visualize, explore, and query a knowledge base constructed from multiple data sources, guided by subject matter expertise codified in threat model graphs. This paper describes a novel system prototype that addresses threats arising from biological weapons of mass destruction. The prototype applies knowledge extraction analytics—including link estimation, entity disambiguation, and event detection—to build a knowledge base of 40 million entities and 140 million relationships from open sources. Exact and inexact subgraph matching analytics enable analysts to search the knowledge base for instances of modeled threats. The paper introduces new methods for inexact matching that accommodate threat models with temporal and geospatial patterns. System performance is demonstrated using several simplified threat models and an embedded scenario.
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Summary

XLab is an early warning system that addresses a broad range of national security threats using a flexible, rapidly reconfigurable architecture. XLab enables intelligence analysts to visualize, explore, and query a knowledge base constructed from multiple data sources, guided by subject matter expertise codified in threat model graphs. This paper...

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A reverse approach to named entity extraction and linking in microposts

Published in:
Proc. of the 6th Workshop on "Making Sense of Microposts" (part of: 25th Int. World Wide Web Conf., 11 April 2016), #Microposts2016, pp. 67-69.

Summary

In this paper, we present a pipeline for named entity extraction and linking that is designed specifically for noisy, grammatically inconsistent domains where traditional named entity techniques perform poorly. Our approach leverages a large knowledge base to improve entity recognition, while maintaining the use of traditional NER to identify mentions that are not co-referent with any entities in the knowledge base.
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Summary

In this paper, we present a pipeline for named entity extraction and linking that is designed specifically for noisy, grammatically inconsistent domains where traditional named entity techniques perform poorly. Our approach leverages a large knowledge base to improve entity recognition, while maintaining the use of traditional NER to identify mentions...

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Named entity recognition in 140 characters or less

Published in:
Proc. of the 6th Workshop on "Making Sense of Microposts" (part of: 25th Int. World Wide Web Conf., 11 April 2016), #Microposts2016, pp. 78-79.

Summary

In this paper, we explore the problem of recognizing named entities in microposts, a genre with notoriously little context surrounding each named entity and inconsistent use of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling conventions by authors. In spite of the challenges associated with information extraction from microposts, it remains an increasingly important genre. This paper presents the MIT Information Extraction Toolkit (MITIE) and explores its adaptability to the micropost genre.
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Summary

In this paper, we explore the problem of recognizing named entities in microposts, a genre with notoriously little context surrounding each named entity and inconsistent use of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling conventions by authors. In spite of the challenges associated with information extraction from microposts, it remains an increasingly...

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