Promises and Perils of Social Platforms
Abstract: Diverse forms of social platforms have given us a passage to the thoughts, opinions, and preferences of the crowd. These platforms opened opportunities to study mass behavior in finer details. However, there is a flip side to this. These social platforms, with access to the history of users' socio-political biases, can also emerge as tools to manipulate mass opinion. My work develops algorithms, systems, and experiments to understand the promises and perils of socio-technical systems. In this talk, I will sample two of my projects. First, I will show how carefully tailored information on social platforms can shape people's social opinions and make them more polarized on critical social topics. My second project demonstrates how persuasive promotional videos can disseminate new information through social platforms. Based on the findings of this work, I built an interactive tool that can guide users step-by-step in making appealing promotional videos. I will conclude this talk with a glimpse of my ongoing and future projects targeting a stronger integration of knowledge from social science and persuasion theory to software engineering and computing, ultimately influencing the way people perceive existing information, learn new skills, and develop new attitudes.
Bio: Sanorita Dey is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she studies human-computer interaction (HCI). Her research interests are in social computing, crowd computing, technologically mediated persuasive systems, and spatial learning. Her work has been published and received awards in premier venues in human-computer interaction, including CHI and CSCW. Sanorita is the recipient of the Maria Pia Graton Fellowship, UIUC Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and the outstanding thesis awards for her Master's thesis. Her recent research on "Effects of Socially Stigmatized Crowdfunding Campaigns in Shaping Opinions" received the best paper honorable mention award at CHI'18. Her other work on "Understanding the Effect of the Combination of Navigation Tools in Learning Spatial Knowledge" was selected among the Top-5 papers at SUI'19.