Autumn 2022 Newsletter

Autumn Issue: 2022

In this issue …

ACM Web Science Conference 2023
New WSTNet Labs: Welcome Stuttgart & Rutgers
Digital Democracy – In Conversation with George Metakides
Publications of Interest
Outreach Events

ACM Web Science Conference 2023 (WebSci’23)

Following this year’s conference in Barcelona, we are delighted to announce that WebSci’23 will take place in Austin, Texas and will be co-located with The ACM 2023 Web Conference.

The WebSci’23 Call for Papers (CfP) is now available on the conference website and we invite you to take note of the important dates for this year’s event.

Important Dates
Wed, November 30, 2022 Paper submission deadline
Tue, January 31, 2023 Notification
Tue, February 28, 2023 Camera-ready versions due
Sun-Mon, April 30 – May 1, 2023 Conference dates

Visit the 2023 Conference website

The Proceedings of the Barcelona conference are now available online here.

2022 also saw the first WST Test of Time award going to a team from the US.

Read about the winning article

Two new WSTNet Labs: Stuttgart & Rutgers

We are delighted to welcome not one, but two new WSTNet labs this time: University of Stuttgart and Rutgers University.
Stuttgart and Rutgers may be our newest members but Lab Directors Steffen Staab and Matt Weber are old friends of Web Science.

In this interview we catch up with Steffen Staab to hear about
the new Stuttgart Lab and how being a part of WSTNet will help.

In the next edition of the newsletter we’ll be talking to Matt Weber about Rutgers’ Lab.

Read the full interview

The Future of Democracy: In Conversation with George Metakides

In conversation this time is George Metakides, WST Trustee and Co-Founder of the Digital Enlightenment Forum. Ian Brown sat down to find out a little more about democracy in the digital age and why we should be concerned.

Read full interview

Publications

We recommend some notable books… click on the images to find out more.

Featuring WSTNet Lab Director Fabien Gandon and WST Trustee Jim Hendler, this 3rd edition adds new material and modern examples to an already classic textbook.

This book by Reid Blackman attempts to distill more than 20 years of work on
Ethics/Philosophy into an accessible framework that moves the ethics of AI
from being “squishy” (as Blackman calls it) to a more structured set of decisions for non-experts.

As mentioned in the George Metakides interview above, Zuboff’s book is a detailed examination of the unprecedented power of surveillance capitalism and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control human behaviour. Zuboff identifies the practice as:

“a new economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales.”

Whilst progress in machine- and deep learning have opened the doors to both new opportunities, and some dark possibilities, Ben Shneiderman sees a bright future for those who employ HCAI strategies for design and testing. As many technology companies and thought leaders have argued, the goal is not to replace people, but to empower them by making design choices that give humans control over technology.

In Human-Centered AI, Professor Ben Shneiderman offers an optimistic (realist’s) guide to how artificial intelligence can be used to augment and enhance humans’ lives.

Our interview with George Metakides above refers to The Age of the Strongman, where Rachman examines archetypal strong figures including Putin, Xi Jinping, Trump and Bolsonaro. They are portrayed as both formidable yet deeply flawed leaders in a series of essays about the global rise of authoritarian, nationalist-populist leaders and its obviously corrosive impact on the liberal democratic ideal.

Outreach Events

Brave Conversations ran an event in Barcelona and also its first UAE event recently in Sharjah so if you’d like to know more about this or any upcoming BC events, head over to braveconversations.org

Find out about Brave Conversations

Finally

Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: info@webscience.org.

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepagefor more news and updates on upcoming events.

Check out our new-look website!!

Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

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Summer 2022 Newsletter

Summer Issue: 2022

In this issue …

WebSci’22 coming right up ..
WSTNet Lab Focus: Cardiff
In Conversation with Jennifer Zhu Scott
Recent Publications
Upcoming events around WebSci’22

WebSci’22 coming right up ..

This year’s WebSci will be our first hybrid conference offering live and on-line experiences and we are excited to welcome you to Barcelona in person for all the extra social and unplanned stuff that comes with a live conference.
We’ll be co-located with ACM Hypertext and ACM UMAP.

Here’s a note from the team in Barcelona:

The 2022 ACM Web Science Conference: The Old vs. the New Normal is now less than three weeks away! We welcome everyone to join us from June 26 to 29 – either online or onsite in Barcelona, Spain.

We have confirmed our first two Keynote Speakers:

Leila Zia
Head of Research at Wikimedia Foundation

m.c schraefel
Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance at University of Southampton

We have published the list of accepted papers on topics that include:

Fake news, disinformation and propaganda
COVID-19 and anti-vaccine discourse
TikTok video analysis and YouTube video recommendations
Crowdsource and AI workers
Gender and Racial bias

The full programme consists of both full and short papers, as well as workshops and tutorials.

Barcelona is waiting for you! Registration is open for online and onsite attendance!

Keep an eye on our tweets via the #WebSci22 hashtag, and check out our websitefor further updates. We look forward to welcoming you to this year’s Web Science conference!

Best wishes

WebSci’22 Conference Committee

WSTNet Lab focus: Cardiff

Cardiff University WSTNet Lab has two Lab Directors: Prof. Pete Burnap and Prof. Matt Williams – their recent focus has been on the evidence emerging from social data and also the discovery and analysis of hate speech both using the COSMOS data analysis platform. The lab has created both the HateLab and the Social Data Science Lab as foci for the Lab’s research activities and findings.

In our spotlight interview Matt tells us about how HateLab works and who they are working with but denies being part of a London-based Cyber-Punk band.

Read the full article

In Conversation with Jennifer Zhu Scott

In conversation this time is well-known finance and digital economy expert Jennifer Zhu Scott. Jen recently joined the WST Board of Trustees and we are delighted to welcome her. Ian Brown sat down to find out a little more about Jen’s path to Web Science and why she thinks we’ve invented a whole new kind of poverty and what we should do about it.

Jennifer Zhu Scott has been named one of the most influential woman in technology, speaks widely on FinTech, gives Ted talks, runs her own AI company and also chairs the Creative Commons project.

Jennifer Zhu Scott

Recent Publications

We recommend some notable books… click on the image to find out more.

Featured WSTNet Lab Director Matt Williams explains how to tackle the growth of of prejudice and hate online

Something different this time with a dystopian novel by Jennifer Egan in the style of Black Mirror about a new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others.

Find out more

Upcoming Events

ACM WebSci’22 will be co-located with the ACM Hypertext Conference and the ACM UMAP Conference.

Brave Conversations will be returning to the WebSci’22 conference and this year’s topic will be post-Covid society. The event will be held Sunday 26th June, 2022 from 3 pm CET to 7 pm CET.

Register for Brave Conversations at WebSci’22

There is also a collection of workshop and tutorial events that run in tandem with the main conference. This year’s program includes:

Workshops

1st Workshop on Blockchain and AI for Community

Website

Assessing The Ethical Implications Of Artificial Intelligence In Policing

Website:

General Collective Intelligence and Web Science

Website:

Documenting Web Data for Social Research  #DocuWeb22

Website:

Tutorials

CooRnet: detecting problematic online coordinated link-sharing behavior using R

Website:

Keep an eye out for updates/notifications on Facebook and using the Twitter hashtags #websci22 #websciconf and #webscience.

WebSci’22 Conference Site

Finally

Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: info@webscience.org.

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepagefor more news and updates on upcoming events.

Check out our new-look website!!

Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

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Copyright (C) 2023 Web Science Trust. All rights reserved.

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Spring 2022 Newsletter

Spring Issue: 2022

In this issue …

AI & Facial Recognition in the News – Jim Hendler
Privacy and the Individual – Kieron O’Hara
In Conversation with Bill Thompson
Recent Publications
Upcoming events – WebSci’22

AI & Facial Recognition in the News
Jim Hendler

Jim Hendler, a long-time WST Trustee and AI expert, has recently spoken of his concerns around the use of facial recognition in government departments including the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). His original article appeared in theconversation.com.

The IRS’s move is aimed at cutting down on identity theft, a crime that affects millions of Americans. The IRS, in particular, has reported a number of tax filings from people claiming to be others, and fraud in many of the programs that were administered as part of the American Relief Plan has been a major concern to the government.

The IRS decision has prompted a backlash, in part over concerns about requiring citizens to use facial recognition technology and in part over difficulties some people have had in using the system, particularly with some state agencies that provide unemployment benefits. The reaction has prompted the IRS to revisit its decision.

Read the full article here

Privacy and the Individual
Kieron O’Hara

In the first of a new WST White Paper series, Web Scientist and Author Kieron O’Hara looks at two approaches to securing rights for the individual through technical and legal/procedural means.

Law has granted individuals some rights over the use of data about them, but data protection rights have not redressed the balance between the individual and the tech giants. A number of approaches aim to augment personal rights to allow individuals to police their own information space, facilitating informational self-determination.

This reports reviews this approach to privacy protection, explaining how controls have generally been conceived either as the use of technology to aid individuals in this policing task, or the creation of further legal instruments to augment their powers. It focuses on two recent attempts to secure or support data protection rights, one using technology and the other the law. The former is called Solid, a decentralised platform for linked data, while the latter is a novel application of trust law to develop data trusts in which individuals’ data is managed by a trustee with the individuals as beneficiaries.

The report argues that structural impediments make it hard for thriving, diverse ecosystems of Solid apps or data trusts to achieve critical mass – a problem that has traditionally haunted this empowering approach.

Read the full article

In Conversation with Bill Thompson

What do you get when you mix Philosophy, Applied Psychology, AI, Political activism and Unix programming with the Web?

In conversation this time is well-known BBC journalist, author and technology pundit Bill Thompson, who is surely an obvious candidate for the titles of both renaissance man and Web Scientist. He recently joined the WST Board of Trustees and we are delighted to welcome him. Ian Brown sat down to find out a little more about Bill’s road from Philosophy to Web Science and why he has been “thinking about the way the network is changing the world”.

Bill Thompson

Recent Publications

We round up some notable recent books. Hopefully you’ve submitted a paper and we wish you the best of luck in winning a best paper award at WebSci’22!

Hannes ­Werthner, Erich ­Prem, Edward­ A.­ Lee, Carlo ­Ghezzi­­­, Editors, Perspectives on Digital Humanism (Springer 2022). Open access collection of papers, including pieces by WSTNet authors, on the relation between human and machine, covering topics such as controlling AI, participation and democracy, the ethics of technology, the arts, fairness, the power of platforms, education, geopolitics and work.

Sheera Frenkel & Cecilia Kang, An Ugly Truth (Bridge Street Press 2021). Exposes the ruthlessness of Facebook’s growth strategy.

Kate Crawford, Atlas of AI (Yale University Press 2021). How AI is changing the world’s geography (largely for the worse), as a technology of extraction.

Find out more

Upcoming Events

The ACM Web Science Conference will run from 26th-29th June at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and online.

ACM WebSci’22 will be co-located with the ACM Hypertext Conference and the ACM UMAP Conference.

Keep an eye out for updates/notifications on Facebook and using the Twitter hashtags #websci22 #websciconf and #webscience.

WebSci’22 Conference Site

If you missed WebSci’21 then click below for the highlight reel and catchup with selected presentations in our series “From the Video Vault”.

WebSci’21 Highlights
Video Vault

Finally

Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: info@webscience.org.

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events.

Check out our new-look website!!

Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

You are receiving this mail as a member of an opt-in mailing list. Please click below if you wish to unsubscribe.

Copyright (C) 2023 Web Science Trust. All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email because of your interest in Web Science

 

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WebSci’21 Special Summer 2021

 

Special Issue: WebSci’21

In this issue …

Looking back at ACM WebSci’21
Prizewinners at WebSci’21
WebSci’21 Meet the Authors
Untangling the Web Podcast – an interview with Noshir Contractor
Saying Hello: Meeting two new WST Trustees
Upcoming events – WebSci’22

Looking back at WebSci’21

ACM WebSci’21 was hosted by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton and ran as an online-only conference for the second year since Covid restrictions were put in place. Despite raising new challenges for the organisers, both WebSci’20 and ‘21 offered the widest ever opportunities for participation across the global Web Science community.

The theme this time was Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID. Our Keynote Speakers were:

  • Daniel J. Weitzner, Director of the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative
  • Martha Lane Fox, Entrepreneur and Internet activist
  • Jennifer Zhu Scott, Executive Chairman of The Commons Project
  • Matthew Weber, Associate Professor at Rutgers University
  • Deen Freelon, Associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill

The conference is over but here are some useful links to catch up:

ACM Proceedings
ACM Companion Proceedings
WebSci’21 Highlights
WebSci’21 Blog

WebSci’21 Prize winning papers

Congratulations to the following authors for their prize winning papers this year. To follow up on these contributions please consult the proceedings (see link above).

  • Monetizing Propaganda: How Far-right Extremists Earn Money by Video Streaming – Megan Squire
    ACM Best Paper
  • Analysis and Prediction of Multilingual Controversy on Reddit – Philipp Koncar, Simon Walk and Denis Relic
    Best Student Paper
  • Wide-AdGraph: Detecting Ad Trackers with a Wide Dependency Chain Graph – Amir Hossein Kargaran, Mohammad Sadegh Akhondzadeh, Mohammad Reza Heidarpour, Mohammad Hossein Manshaei, Kave Salamatian and Masoud Nejad Sattary
    Best Student Paper Honourable Mention
  • Social Science for Natural Language Processing: A Hostile Narrative Analysis Prototype – Stephen Anning, George Konstantinidis and Craig Webber
    Best Student Paper Honourable Mention
  • Building a Social Machine for Graduate MobilityNeha Keshan
    Best PhD Symposium Presentation Award

Meet the Authors

This year’s conference featured new books by Rory Cellan-Jones, Cyd Harrell, Azeem Azhar, Pablo J. Boczkowski, Uta Kohl and Jacob Eisler, and held a special “Meet the Authors” event featuring a new Web Science book “Four Internets” by WST colleagues Kieron O’Hara and Wendy Hall.

“Four Internets” has received critical praise for a timely analysis of cyberspace governance issues and possible futures of a “Splinternet” resulting from the complex and subtle transformation/reshaping of the original vision of a single, unified Internet. The book includes a foreword by Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf.

Find out more

Interviewing the host of Untangling the Web – Noshir Contractor

Untangling the Web is the brainchild of WST Trustee Noshir Contractor and seeks to lay out and examine some of the key issues in Web Science through an informal discussion series in which he invites colleagues to talk about their work and the challenges they face. Ian Brown from WST speaks to Noshir about the series.

IB: What was the driver behind starting a new podcast around Web Science?

Noshir: We are trying to make Web Science more accessible for listeners by approaching real-world challenges and problems, and talking about them from the perspective of people and technology interacting at a huge (often global) scale. You don’t need to know any formal Web Science to listen to this series and to learn something about key challenges and opportunities that emerge from so much digital data mixed with so many people.

IB: How is something like Web Science different from some of the approaches that listeners may be more familiar with like Data Science or Information Science?

Noshir: Actually, defining Web Science in formal terms can be tough, and yet we so often see opportunities and problems that Web Science is uniquely placed to analyse and help us to understand.

The secret sauce is that Web Scientists come from a multitude of disciplines – they are trained lawyers, mathematicians, medics, musicians, teachers, technologists, philosophers and everything in between. Bringing this type of expertise together with an understanding of the structure and interactions of networks at large scale creates a unique perspective.

No other discipline that I know, not only allows interdisciplinary thinking in this way but actually demands it. Unless we bring the complexity of people/society in all its forms into an understanding of the Web we cannot hope to scratch the surface of the ways in which the people and technologies impact and influence each other.

IB: You must be very pleased at the reception you’ve had for the first series. You’ve already put out more than 20 episodes – what’s next for Untangling the Web?

Noshir: We are excited to present a new set of guests including several thought leaders and a mixture of discussions about the past history of technology and the Web through to current research and upcoming challenges and opportunities.

We’re planning some really interesting episodes over the next few months including a special 25th episode interview with Sir Nigel Shadbolt from Jesus College, Oxford so keep an eye on the website and subscribe to the series on iTunes, Spotify or your favourite Podcast platform.

IB: Have any episodes particularly stood out for you so far or are there other upcoming guests you can tell us about ..?

Noshir: Its hard to pick a favourite but I was keen to interview Aleks Krotoski (the author who inspired the name for the podcast). We spoke about how our online lives have become entangled with our offline ones. Her research has found that we bring our existing ideas about society into the virtual worlds we build, but unlike in the past, there’s less space to play around with our identities online. Oh, and there are more consequences – for many people – from the things they did 10 or 15 years ago which can still pop up when you search their name online.

IB: Really timely and interesting stuff. Congratulations on a successful launch and we look forward to the new series

Noshir: Thanks very much – obviously it’s a team effort and thanks go out to all the people behind the scenes that make something like this happen. It’s hard work but we think it’s worth it.

Visit the Podcast Homepage

Saying Hello to two new trustees:

We are delighted to announce two new trustees who are joining WST: Jennifer Zhu Scott, whose work with the World Economic Forum is well known and who brings deep experience of emerging technologies and global governance issues.

Jennifer Zhu Scott

Bill Thompson, experienced BBC technology broadcaster, head of future value research at BBC R&D, and long-time supporter of Web Science, will also join the WST Board completing the new trustee line-up. He is passionate about the Web, Web Science and keeping data safe and accessible through the power of open source and archiving.

Bill Thompson

Upcoming Events

We are delighted to have handed the torch over from Southampton to Barcelona for ACM WebSci’22 which will run from 27th-30th June. We will report on further details as the program develops.

Please note that the conference site is https://websci22.webscience.org and will be updated in the near future.

Keep an eye out for updates/notifications on Facebook and using the Twitter hashtags #websci22 #websciconf and #webscience

Finally

Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: info@webscience.org.

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events.

Check out our new-look website!!

Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team