Loading Events

The Department of Computer Science invites you to a seminar, titled “On the Origins of Memes by Means of Fringe Web Communities” with Dr. Michael Sirivianos, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Informatics, Cyprus University of Technology.

Internet memes are increasingly used to sway and manipulate public opinion. This prompts the need to study their propagation, evolution, and influence across the Web. In this paper, we detect and measure the propagation of memes across multiple Web communities, using a processing pipeline based on perceptual hashing and clustering techniques, and a dataset of 160M images from 2.6B posts gathered from Twitter, Reddit, 4chan’s Politically Incorrect board (/pol/), and Gab, over the course of 13 months. We group the images posted on fringe Web communities (/pol/, Gab, and The_Donald subreddit) into clusters, annotate them using meme metadata obtained from Know Your Meme, and also map images from mainstream communities (Twitter and Reddit) to the clusters.

Our analysis provides an assessment of the popularity and diversity of memes in the context of each community, showing, e.g., that racist memes are extremely common in fringe Web communities. We also find a substantial number of politics-related memes on both mainstream and fringe Web communities, supporting media reports that memes might be used to enhance or harm politicians. Finally, we use Hawkes processes to model the interplay between Web communities and quantify their reciprocal influence, finding that /pol/ substantially influences the meme ecosystem with the number of memes it produces, while The_Donald has a higher success rate in pushing them to other communities.
This work was referenced in the news at: QUARTZ, Business Insider, MIT Technology Review, VICE, InfoWars, Dailydot, Indy100, Thinkprogress,Iflscience, Hornet, Washington Post, BBC News.

About Dr Michael Sirivianos

Dr. Michael Sirivianos is an Assistant Professor in Computer Engineering and Informatics at the Cyprus University of Technology. He holds a PhD from Duke University since 2010. His current research interests lie in the fields of trust-aware design of distributed systems, device-centric authentication, federated identity management, discrimination based on personal data, cybersafety, suppression of false information in the social web, and transactional workload scalability. He has published articles in the most influential conferences and journals of Networked Systems, including ACM SIGCOMM, USENIX NSDI, ACM IMC, USENIX ATC, AAAI ICWSM, IEEE INFOCOM, IEEE ICDCS, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, and ACM Transactions on the Web. Dr. Sirivianos has extensive experience in EU-funded projects. Specifically, he is the technical manager of the ReCRED project (Horizon 2020 Innovation Action – 2014) and the coordinator of the ENCASE project (Horizon 2020 Marie Curie RISE – 2015). He is also the co-director of the Network Systems and Science Research Laboratory and the president of CUT’s Union of Academics since 2015.

Share This, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top