P A N A G I O T I S M E T A X A SJ O I N T W O R K W I T H E N I M U S T A F A R A JC S , W E L L E S L E Y C O L L E G E ...
Outline—  Anonymous “tuitteros” and Citizen Reporters¡  The Mexican Drug War—  “Big Data” analysis of Narco-tweets—  M...
©Nadav Neuhaus~60,000 deaths1~230,000 displaced21 Semanario Zeta, Dec 12, 2011,2 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, ...
EPI2oh on FlickrTypical Emergency ResponseFrom [M-HKbC CSCW13]“Fearing for their lives and the safety of their families,jo...
1 Asociación Mexicana de Internet, 20112Oxford Internet Institute, 2012Internet Users117% (yr. 2000) à 34% (yr. 2010)34 m...
Based on photo by Eneas on FlickrAnonymous “tuiteros” report on areas of danger
Caution on Lazaro Cardenas Avenue aroundDel Paseo, people report a recent risky situation#MtyFollow #RiesgoMty 18:35
From [M-HKbC CSCW13]What arepeopletweeting?
Initial Data Collection—  ~216,000 Tweets, in Spanishcollected by Andrés Monroy-Hernandez—  ~30,000 users,mostly anonymo...
Color-coding users according to tweet volumeFrom [MMFM12]
Users with more than 75 mutual followsMutual-Followers (Community)node size =size of followers groupnode proximity =| mutu...
Major curator “@GodFather”Retweet Network (Trust)From [MMFM12]node size =in-degree (PageRank)
Timelines for @GodFatherTweets containing @GodFatherTweets by @GodFatherFrom [MMFM12]
Looking closer: Mentioning vs Retweeting
Big Data Stuck…—  What is going on on the ground?—  Who is, really, @Godfather?—  What are they talking about him/her?—...
NarcotweetsReporting on the Mexican Drug Warusing Social MediaAndrés Monroy-HernándezMicrosoft Research, Harvard Berkman C...
@GodFather’s timeline Tweets containing @GodFatherTweets by @GodFatherFake acct ridiculing CuratorFake acct blocked by com...
Who is@GodFather?
—  Attended Berkman talk,connected with the audience via Twitter—  Willing to talk to us under anonymity—  She is a you...
Mexico Nueva Revolucion
@GodFather’s timeline Tweets containing @GodFatherTweets by @GodFatherFake acct ridiculing CuratorFake acct blocked by com...
Introducing “Melissa Lotzer” @trackMTY—  Young woman, idealist, wanting to help—  Pseudonym: Melissa Lotzer—  Started t...
Introducing “Melissa Lotzer” @trackMTY
Blog del Narco on Comales siege
March-April 2011—  Sequence of deadly events in MTY and nearby towns—  Blame for “hawks” informing cartels of Army mvmt—...
The “aguilasMTY” movement
The creation of 80+ aguilasMTY in 2 days
March-April 2011—  Sequence of deadly events in MTY and nearby towns—  Blame for “hawks” informing cartels of Army mvmt—...
Attack by troll, BlogDelNarco
March-April 2011—  Sequence of deadly events in MTY and nearby towns—  Blame for “hawks” informing cartels of Army mvmt—...
@MelissaLotzer: Why I do what I do—  Im completely sure that trackmtywas the reason why many peoplestarted using twitter....
Semi-Automatic Tools forEvaluating Information Trustworthiness—  See [CSCW-DIST12] http://bit.ly/TrailsOfTrust—  Establi...
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Web sci13 narcotweets-the-rise-fall-citizen-reporter

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Recently, research interest has been growing in the development of online communities sharing news and information curated by “citizen reporters”. Using “Big Data” techniques researchers try to discover influence groups and major events in the lives of such communities. However, the big picture may sometimes miss important stories that are essential to the development and evolution of online communities. In particular, how does one identify and verify events when the important actors are operating anonymously and without sufficient news coverage, as in drug war-torn Mexico? In this paper, we present some techniques that allow us to make sense of the data collected, identify important dates of significant events therein, and direct our limited resources to discover hidden stories that, in our case, affect the lives and safety of prominent citizen reporters. In particular, we describe how focused analysis enabled us to discover an important story in the life of this community involving the reputation of an anonymous leader, and how trust was built in order to verify the validity of that story.

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Web sci13 narcotweets-the-rise-fall-citizen-reporter

  1. 1. P A N A G I O T I S M E T A X A SJ O I N T W O R K W I T H E N I M U S T A F A R A JC S , W E L L E S L E Y C O L L E G E , U S AC R C S , H A R V A R D U N I V E R S I T Y , U S AP M E T A X A S @ W E L L E S L E Y . E D U@ T A K I S _ M E T A X A SThe Rise and the Fall !of a Citizen ReporterSome slides and original data set from Andrés Monroy-Hernándezhttp://bit.ly/pmetaxas
  2. 2. Outline—  Anonymous “tuitteros” and Citizen Reporters¡  The Mexican Drug War—  “Big Data” analysis of Narco-tweets—  Matching events between the Virtual & the Real World—  The Rise and the Fall of an Anonymous Citizen Reporter—  Tools for evaluating trustworthiness of information
  3. 3. ©Nadav Neuhaus~60,000 deaths1~230,000 displaced21 Semanario Zeta, Dec 12, 2011,2 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2011,3 Diego Valle with Official Numbers from PGR, SINAIS, INEGO.33CalderónAdministrationThe Mexican Drug War
  4. 4. EPI2oh on FlickrTypical Emergency ResponseFrom [M-HKbC CSCW13]“Fearing for their lives and the safety of their families,journalists are adhering to a near-complete news blackout, under strict orders ofdrug smuggling organizations and their enforcers, whodictate via daily telephone calls, emails and newsreleases what can and cannot be printed or aired.” “The news blackout extends to government officials.In Nuevo Laredo, the mayor mysteriously disappearsfor days and refuses to discuss drug violence. Themilitary general who presides over the soldierspatrolling the city does not hold news conferences,issue statements or answer questions from the media.”
  5. 5. 1 Asociación Mexicana de Internet, 20112Oxford Internet Institute, 2012Internet Users117% (yr. 2000) à 34% (yr. 2010)34 million usersSocial Media161% of Internet usersTwitter220% of SM users5th largest country(cc) Lecates on FlickrFrom [M-HKbC CSCW13]
  6. 6. Based on photo by Eneas on FlickrAnonymous “tuiteros” report on areas of danger
  7. 7. Caution on Lazaro Cardenas Avenue aroundDel Paseo, people report a recent risky situation#MtyFollow #RiesgoMty 18:35
  8. 8. From [M-HKbC CSCW13]What arepeopletweeting?
  9. 9. Initial Data Collection—  ~216,000 Tweets, in Spanishcollected by Andrés Monroy-Hernandez—  ~30,000 users,mostly anonymous/pseudonymous—  ~300 days, Nov. 2010 – Aug. 2011—  Based on #MTYfollow hashtag—  ~30,000 Tweets collected on demandfrom Twitter, archives by Eni Mustafaraj—  Employ “big data” statistical methods visualization
  10. 10. Color-coding users according to tweet volumeFrom [MMFM12]
  11. 11. Users with more than 75 mutual followsMutual-Followers (Community)node size =size of followers groupnode proximity =| mutual followers |Color =Louvain sub-communities
  12. 12. Major curator “@GodFather”Retweet Network (Trust)From [MMFM12]node size =in-degree (PageRank)
  13. 13. Timelines for @GodFatherTweets containing @GodFatherTweets by @GodFatherFrom [MMFM12]
  14. 14. Looking closer: Mentioning vs Retweeting
  15. 15. Big Data Stuck…—  What is going on on the ground?—  Who is, really, @Godfather?—  What are they talking about him/her?—  How do you find out?—  Who do you ask?—  How do you trust them?—  Why should they trust you?
  16. 16. NarcotweetsReporting on the Mexican Drug Warusing Social MediaAndrés Monroy-HernándezMicrosoft Research, Harvard Berkman Center@andresmhPanagiotis Takis MetaxasWellesley College, Harvard CRCS@takis_metaxasJuly 10, 2012 - Harvard Berkman Center • #narcotweets© Gael Gonzalez/Reutershttp://bit.ly/Berkman-NarcoTweets
  17. 17. @GodFather’s timeline Tweets containing @GodFatherTweets by @GodFatherFake acct ridiculing CuratorFake acct blocked by communityCurator organizes informantsMajor violent events in “Greenville”Curator’s credibility questioned
  18. 18. Who is@GodFather?
  19. 19. —  Attended Berkman talk,connected with the audience via Twitter—  Willing to talk to us under anonymity—  She is a young woman, idealist, wanting to help—  Was recruited by @trackMTY to be part ofMexico Nueva Revolucion—  Is worried since what “happened to @trackMTY”—  She points to an important pointmissed by our “big data analysis”Interview of a Citizen Reporter
  20. 20. Mexico Nueva Revolucion
  21. 21. @GodFather’s timeline Tweets containing @GodFatherTweets by @GodFatherFake acct ridiculing CuratorFake acct blocked by communityCurator organizes informantsMajor violent events in “Greenville”Curator’s credibility questionedCurator stops tweeting
  22. 22. Introducing “Melissa Lotzer” @trackMTY—  Young woman, idealist, wanting to help—  Pseudonym: Melissa Lotzer—  Started the MNR in March 2010—  Believes she started #MTYfollow—  Credited for helping lift the siege of Comales,by publicizing a letter to Calderon, April 2010—  Attacked by trolls several times with mis-spellednames aiming to confuse
  23. 23. Introducing “Melissa Lotzer” @trackMTY
  24. 24. Blog del Narco on Comales siege
  25. 25. March-April 2011—  Sequence of deadly events in MTY and nearby towns—  Blame for “hawks” informing cartels of Army mvmt—  Mayor calling for “eagles” to take on “hawks”—  @trackMTY organizes the “aquilasMTY” movementto report on risk and calm areas
  26. 26. The “aguilasMTY” movement
  27. 27. The creation of 80+ aguilasMTY in 2 days
  28. 28. March-April 2011—  Sequence of deadly events in MTY and nearby towns—  Blame for “hawks” informing cartels of Army mvmt—  Mayor calling for “eagles” to take on “hawks”—  @trackMTY organizes the “aquilasMTY” movementto report on risk and calm areas—  Accused by troll that she is working for the Zetas—  Accusation is fortified by well-known BlogDelNarco
  29. 29. Attack by troll, BlogDelNarco
  30. 30. March-April 2011—  Sequence of deadly events in MTY and nearby towns—  Blame for “hawks” informing cartels of Army mvmt—  Mayor calling for “eagles” to take on “hawks”—  @trackMTY organizes the “aquilasMTY” movementto report on risk and calm areas—  Accused by troll that she is working for the Zetas—  Accusation is fortified by well-known BlogDelNarco—  She is slow to respond, loses credibility with followers—  Her anonymity is compromised in August 2011,along with photos, friends, home address…—  Re-emerges months later,starts building up her reputation slowly
  31. 31. @MelissaLotzer: Why I do what I do—  Im completely sure that trackmtywas the reason why many peoplestarted using twitter. I receivecomments daily by followers thatare opening a twitter account to afamily member just to follow me [...]They tell me: please take care of mymom, she will be reading yourtweets, she will not be reportingcases because she doesnt know howto use a blackberry or so.Many similar cases like that happenevery day.
  32. 32. Semi-Automatic Tools forEvaluating Information Trustworthiness—  See [CSCW-DIST12] http://bit.ly/TrailsOfTrust—  Establishment of new metrics to help usersevaluate the trustworthiness of info they receive:¡  Who said it, What did they say in the past, Who Retweets them?—  Monitor the evolving ways in which information reachesusers¡  Single or multiple sources?¡  Independence of sources?¡  History of retweet propagation—  Establish a personalizable model that captures theparameters, protects privacy¡  Manage trust implicitly (e.g. deleting decreases trust,…)—  Design algorithms that can detect attacks—  Want to collaborate? Email pmetaxas@wellesley.edu
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