• COVID 19,  Research,  Social Computing

    Is a Democrat more likely to wear a mask than a Republican?? Unmasking the partisan combat, an analysis through Instagram

    We analyze 3.91 million Instagram posts collected throughout 2020 from the 4 top Democratic and 4 top Republican states. Posts from Democratic states were found to have significantly higher percentages of detected masks, and significantly lower percentages of group photos, showing higher adoption of mask-wearing and social distancing measures than Republican states. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed life in the world including, United States, with the country recording over 32.3 million cases and 574,000 deaths as of April, 2020. With the ongoing widespread vaccine rollout, the adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions like mask-wearing mandates and stay-at-home laws have proved to be critical for stopping possible transmission routes. In the lead-up to…

  • Research,  Social Computing

    Koo: The New King? Characterizing India’s Emerging Social Network

    India’s recent multilingual social network, Koo, has generated quite a buzz in the past few months. The platform, which closely resembles the microblogging service Twitter, was launched in March 2020 to encourage online discourse in Indian languages. Koo saw an enormous surge in popularity due to the Indian Government’s standoff with Twitter over the latter’s refusal to block accounts the Centre claimed were spreading fake news related to the February 2021 farmers’ protests. Many politicians, celebrities, and government departments tweeted about their shift to Koo and encouraged others to join.  As Koo became the talk of the town, we decided to collect data and characterize the platform based on its…

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  • Capitol Arrests,  Capitol Riots,  Research,  Social Computing

    Capitol Riots/Aftermath : The Road from Washington to Arrest

    In the aftermath of the Capitol riots that took place on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C., federal prosecutors continue to charge participants involved. USA TODAY is gathering details of these cases as the FBI keeps identifying and prosecuting more perpetrators involved in the storming. They have compiled a list [Link] of people arrested on a range of charges filed by federal prosecutors, as well as those arrested by Capitol Police and D.C. Metro Police for storming the capitol building. Information for each arrest includes the date of arrest/charge, home state, the charges and a brief summary of what happened. We have collected data from the first arrest taking place…

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  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Phase6,  Research,  Social Computing,  VotingRound6

    #LokSabhaElections2019 #NCT #Delhi Political Handles, Popularity

    The constituencies in the NCT of Delhi are scheduled to go for elections on May 12th as part of phase six, in this analysis we take a closer look at the constituencies, candidates, their social media handles, etc. There are seven constituencies in Delhi, and 164 candidates will be contesting across these constituencies. 148 (90.25%) of the total candidates are males while 16 (9.75%) of the total candidates are females. We went through all the Affidavits* submitted by the candidates to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to collect each candidate’s demographics and social media details. The table below covers the distribution of social media handles that we were able…

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  • #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…

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  • #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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