A Research and Practice Workshop

Scholar Presentations

Keynote Talk: Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation in Digital Political Communication

By Dr. Rob Faris (Research Director of Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University)

Dr. Faris works on digital communication mechanisms by civil society organizations and social movements, and the emergence and impact of digitally-mediated collective action, as well as the influence of networked digital technologies on democracy and governance and the evolving role of new media in political change. His current work includes applied research into the networked public sphere drawing on the Media Cloud platform, the monitoring and measurement of Internet activity and content controls based on the Internet Monitor platform, and research into the phenomenon of harmful speech online.


Keynote Talk: Analyzing Online Social Interactions for Cyber Security, Framing, and Network Interference

By Dr. Shyhtsun Felix Wu (Professor of Computer Science & Associate Dean of Academic Personnel and Research College of Engineering, University of California, Davis)

Professor Wu’s research focuses on social computing, information search and analytics, cyber security,  Internet architecture and protocols. The nature of his research is very “experimental”, meaning that he builds prototype systems and performs experiments to validate and evaluate new architectural concepts for the security of our Internet. Since 1995, he and his students/postdocs have built many experimental systems in the areas of fault tolerant network, IPSec/VPN security policy, attack source tracing, wireless network security, intrusion detection and response, visual information analytics, and, more recently, future Internet design. An article titled "Networking: Four ways to reinvent the Internet" published in Nature 463 (February 3rd, 2010, by Katharine Gammon) provided a brief but very nice cover about his primary thought on a Social-network-based future Internet architecture. He received his BS from Tunghai University, Taiwan, in 1985, both MS and PhD from Columbia University in 1989 and 1995, all in Computer Science. He has about 170+ academic publications, which means that he should probably focus much more on the depth and quality.


Industry Presentations

We Stand with the Facts

By Vickie Walton-James (Senior National Editor, National Public Radio)

Vickie Walton-James is Senior National Editor for NPR News. In this role, which she assumed in 2014, Walton-James oversees a staff of more than 40 reporters, producers and editors in 18 domestic bureaus and Washington, D.C. The National Desk covers issues ranging from criminal justice to the environment to national security. Previously, Walton-James served as Deputy National Editor and in other management positions on the National Desk. Prior to joining NPR in 2008, Walton-James was a top manager for Tribune Publishing in Washington. She was promoted to that position after serving as the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau Chief. In that role, she led coverage of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. She also directed coverage of Washington institutions and issues, including justice, diplomacy, defense and the presidency. Walton-James began her journalism career in newspapers, reporting for the Kansas City Star. She later moved to the Chicago Tribune and was an editor for its national and foreign desks. Walton-James holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.


Fake News and Fake Reviews: Yelp's Perspectives on Misinformation in a Democratic Society

By Luther Lowe (Vice President of Public Policy, Yelp)

Luther Lowe joined Yelp in 2008 as an account executive on the company’s sales team and a year later moved into the role of Manager of Business Outreach, where he built a department that educates small business owners about the importance of Yelp. Since 2011, Lowe has led public policy at the company. As Vice President of Public Policy, he manages and directs the company’s global outreach to policy makers about the vital role Yelp plays in driving economic activity to local businesses while serving as a platform to empower and protect consumers. Previously, Luther worked as a Special Assistant to retired four-star General Wesley Clark. He holds a B.A. in government from The College of William & Mary.

Overview of the Talk: Founded in 2004, Yelp had an early look into the challenge of combating misinformation at scale. Today, Yelp is the leading website and app for consumer reviews of local businesses. What lessons has Yelp learned along the way and are they instructive for the problems of "fake news" or efforts to socially engineer an electorate at scale? Yelp's Vice President of Public Policy will address this and discuss how policy makers can empower internet users more broadly by tackling the core problems that enable misinformation to scale.



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