• #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Research,  Social Computing

    NaMo Vs RaGa: On Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

    As the nation gears up for the first phase of the parliamentary elections tomorrow, it will be interesting to see in detail the emerging candidates vying for the seat of the Prime Minister seat. Taking forward our empirical analysis of Social Media dialogues around elections, we analyze the two primary candidates, Narendra Modi (NaMo) and Rahul Gandhi (RaGa). In this blog, we have a look at their presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Before we get into the analysis of their profiles, we quickly visit the recently released manifestos of each of their parties and share a word cloud of the topics addressed in them. To obtain this…

  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Research,  Social Computing

    Who-Follows-Whom?, #ChaupalOnTwitter, Political Satire Videos

    Who-Follows-Whom? Earlier in our ongoing blog series on the forthcoming Indian parliamentary elections we had characterized the following network of verified political handles. Today we share the results of analysing the follower/following patterns of these handles amongst each other. To understand the interactions between the political handles (otherwise parties), we populate a table which shows the ratio of total number of followings of one party to another by the total number of handles of that party. Below is the table with all the counts of followings of each party’s members against another party’s handles, e.g. total number of connections from all AAP accounts following BJP accounts is 912. Next, we…

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  • Elections2019,  Research,  Social Computing

    The #MainBhiChowkidar Campaign: 30% Verified, 36% non-verified Handles added Chowkidar to their Name

    Below is the first occurrence of the #MainBhiChowkidar by @narendramodi The tweet was dated March 15th 0900hrs IST. This hashtag was part of the campaign; we found this hashtag trending in India by 1100hrs. We were interested in studying the different facets of this campaign, in particular, name changes in the user name of the accounts, verified and others. Screen name / handle is restricted to 15 alphanumeric characters (letters A-Z, numbers 0-9) with the exception of underscores and name of the account is restricted to 50 alphanumeric characters, including special characters and emojis. First occurrence of MainBhiChowkidar Of the 1,268 verified handles (we reported 1,252 in our blog post…

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  • Neural Networks,  Research

    Hardening Deep Neural Networks via Adversarial Model Cascades

    Deep neural networks (DNNs) are vulnerable to malicious inputs crafted by an adversary to produce erroneous outputs. Works on securing neural networks against adversarial examples achieve high empirical robustness on simple datasets such as MNIST. However, these techniques are inadequate when empirically tested on complex data sets such as CIFAR10 and SVHN. Further, existing techniques are designed to target specific attacks and fail to generalize across attacks. We propose Adversarial Model Cascades (AMC) as a way to tackle the above inadequacies. Our approach trains a cascade of models sequentially where each model is optimized to be robust towards a mixture of multiple attacks. Ultimately, it yields a single model which…

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  • Elections2019,  Research

    Female Political Handles: Followed by more, Post more, Re-tweet more, and Follow less

    We manually annotated the 1,252 verified handles, for various characteristics of the handles, like party affiliation, state / city, and gender. Among the 1,252 handles, we found 865 (69.1%) to be men, 133 (10.6%) to be women, and the rest 254 (20.3%) handles to be associated with parties. This blog is dedicated to analysing men and women handles. Analysis was done with the data as of March 1, 2019. We found female political handles to have more followers than males. On average, females had 368.5K (min: 422, max: 12.2M) followers, while male handles has 347.8K (min: 47, max: 46.2M) followers. With @narendramodi having the maximum followers (46.2M) in male and…

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  • Elections2019,  Research

    Verified Political Handles: Party Distribution, Political Status, Gender Diversity, and Network Interactions

    Our data collection covers 2,585 Twitter handles which we find have some affiliation to an Indian political party. This list was manually curated and we have been collecting data for these handles from late 2018 through the Twitter API. Among these 2,585 handles, we found 1,252 political handles to be Verified Twitter Handles. It is interesting to see this large number of verified accounts in this elections. When we analysed the Twitter data for 2014 Elections, we found only 71 Verified Indian political handles. We manually annotated these handles for their state representation, party affiliation, Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha affiliation, and gender (in case of a handle representing an…

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  • Research,  Students,  WhatsApp

    WhatsFarzi: Analyzing Fake / Manipulated content / Misinformation on WhatsApp

    As mobile coverage penetrates the most remote areas and data packages become cheaper every day, over 4 billion people across the world today have access to the Internet, of which more than 56% traffic comes from mobile devices. This is especially true in developing countries like India, where more than 430 million Indians out of the total online population of 462 million access the Internet through  mobile phones. WhatsApp is the most popular personal messaging service in India, with more than 200 million users, the highest in the world. One of the biggest side effects of WhatsApp’s deep penetration is its misuse as a medium to disseminate misinformation. Last year,…

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  • Elections2019,  Research

    Twitter’s “suspect users” affects Indian political handles

    Twitter removed “suspected users” from their platform during the week of Nov 1, 2018. This is potentially about 2.4 Million handles. Given our interest in analyzing political accounts in India, we were keen on analyzing how much of this affected the Indian political scenario. We found a large number of handles losing followers. Lets look at some of the handles which lost large numbers of followers because of this removal of suspected users.   The handle @KirenRijiju had 599K followers on Nov 7, 2018 and it had 475K followers on Nov 8, 2018. The handle lost about 124K followers in one day. Below is a graph showing this in more…

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  • Experiences,  Research,  Students

    A Epistle open letter to Precog, PK & RK

    Dear Precog,PK & RK, Because we together had written lines and lines on Latex, so now its high time to revise, relive and revive something ‘unread’ between those lines. Hold a cup of coffee and have a flashback 😉 So Let me start with day zero when I got the first glance of your presence, it was one fine afternoon while exploring things around Higher studies and research opportunities I came across NPTEL Course – Privacy and Security in Online Social Media, which was obviously fascinating for me because I am a person who likes to live one life on planet Called Social Media. After getting in to course my…

  • Elections2019,  Research,  Social Media

    Has the battle for General Elections 2019 shifted online?

    Social Media, today, is playing a very important role in the politics of almost every nation. In India, there has been a boom in social media political campaigns, which was more marked in the 2014 General Elections.  All major political parties used social media to promote their manifestos and interact in the public domain in a one-to-one manner. They analysed different views of the people, and worked on them. The Home Minister, in a seminar after the 2014 general elections, also said that “Through social media, the government is outlining its plan, its vision”. After assuming power, the NDA government has been using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to outline its…

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