7th May 2021 - 11am - Bjorn Ross: Seminar

TITLE:  Opinions and rumours on social media: Perspectives from Computational Social Science



Social media has profoundly affected the way rumours and opinions spread. For example, the expression, or lack thereof, of opinions on controversial issues on social media contributes to the formation of public opinion. Likewise, reactions to rumours on social media contribute to increasing their spread or to debunking them. In this talk I will share insights from studies into people’s online behaviour, drawing primarily from agent-based modelling and social network analysis. Specifically, I will discuss how the “spiral of silence” process of public opinion formation is susceptible to malicious influence and how rumours on social media can be effectively debunked. Following on from that, I will share thoughts on future research directions and the role of natural language processing.


Björn Ross is Lecturer in Computational Social Science at the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, in the Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation. In his research, he uses computational methods from agent-based modelling, natural language processing and social network analysis to study social media and related technologies. A key focus of his research is to explore negative aspects of social media, such as misinformation, hate speech, and the malicious use of automation (bots), as well as how social media can be used effectively for the benefit of society, such as in crisis communication. He also examines issues with these methods, from data collection practices to research data management. At Edinburgh, he is a co-director of the SMASH group. Before that, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Duisburg-Essen, where he also completed his PhD. His articles have been published in journals including the European Journal of Information Systems and Big Data & Society, and his work has been presented at conferences such as ICIS and ICWSM.

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May 07 2021 -

7th May 2021 - 11am - Bjorn Ross: Seminar

This event is co-organised by ILCC and by the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Natural Language Processing, https://nlp-cdt.ac.uk

Blackboard invitation