technology:viral marketing

  • Maximizing influence in a social network: Improved results using a genetic algorithm
    Kaiqi Zhang, Haifeng Du, Marcus W. Feldman,
    From School of Management of Xi’an Jiaotong University (China), and Stanford University (US)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437117301930

    Influence Maximization in Online Social Networks
    Cigdem Aslay ISI Foundation, Turin, Italy
    Laks V.S. Lakshmanan, Vancouver, KKKanada
    https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3162007

    Viral marketing , a popular concept in the business literature, has recently attracted a lot of attention also in computer science, dueto its high application potential and computational challenges.Theidea of viral marketing is simple yet appealing: by targeting themost influential users in a social network (e.g., by giving themfree or price-discounted samples), one can exploit the power ofthe network effect through word-of-mouth, thus delivering themarketing message to a large portion of the network analogous tothe spread of a virus.

    Influence maximization is the key algorithmic problem behind viral marketing.

    #scary_science

  • How Russia Hacked U.S. Politics With Instagram Marketing – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/17/how-russia-hacked-us-politics-with-instagram-marketing

    While the message itself was not aimed at swaying voters in any direction, researchers now believe it served another purpose for the Russian group: It boosted the reach of its account, likely won it new followers, and tried to establish the account’s bona fides as an authentic voice for the black community.

    That advertising pitch was revealed in a report released Monday by the Senate Intelligence Committee and produced by the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge. The report provides the most comprehensive look to date at the Kremlin’s attempt to boost Trump’s candidacy and offers a surprising insight regarding that campaign: Moscow’s operatives operated much like digital marketers, making use of Instagram to reach a huge audience.

    By blending marketing tactics with political messaging, the Internet Research Agency (IRA) established a formidable online presence in the run-up to the 2016 election (and later), generating 264 million total engagements—a measure of activity such as liking and sharing content—and building a media ecosystem across Facebook and Instagram.

    The authors of the report believe @blackstagram__ served as a vehicle for Kremlin propaganda targeting the American black community, skillfully adopting the language of Instagram, where viral marketing schemes exist side by side with artfully arranged photographs of toast.

    As Americans streamed to the polls on Nov. 8, 2016, @blackstagram__ offered its contribution to the Kremlin’s campaign to depress turnout, borrowing a line from a Michael Jackson song to tell African-Americans that their votes didn’t matter: “Think twice before you vote. All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us. #Blacktivist #hotnews.”

    While the effect of the IRA’s coordinated campaign to depress voter turnout is difficult to assess, the evidence of the group’s online influence is stark. Of its 133 Instagram accounts, 12 racked up more than 100,000 followers—the typical threshold for being considered an online “influencer” in the world of digital marketing. Around 50 amassed more than 10,000 followers, making them what marketers call “micro-influencers.”

    These accounts made savvy use of hashtags, built relationships with real people, promoted merchandise, and targeted niche communities. The IRA’s most popular Instagram accounts included pages devoted to veterans’ issues (@american.veterans), American Christianity (@army_of_jesus), and feminism (@feminism_tag).

    In a measure of the agency’s creativity, @army_of_jesus appears to have been launched in 2015 as a meme account featuring Kermit the Frog. It then switched subjects and began exclusively posting memes related to the television show The Simpsons. By January 2016, the account had amassed a significant following and reached its final iteration with a post making extensive use of religious hashtags: ““#freedom #love #god #bible #trust #blessed #grateful.” It later posted memes comparing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to Satan.

    “The Internet Research Agency operated like a digital marketing agency: develop a brand (both visual and voice), build presences on all channels across the entire social ecosystem, and grow an audience with paid ads as well as partnerships, influencers, and link-sharing,” the New Knowledge report concludes. “Instagram was perhaps the most effective platform.”

    #Instagram #Politique #USA #Russie #Médias_sociaux

  • How Russia Hacked U.S. Politics With Instagram Marketing – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/17/how-russia-hacked-us-politics-with-instagram-marketing

    The Internet Research Agency took to the photo-sharing network to boost Trump and depress voter turnout.

    Donald Trump as U.S. president, Kremlin operatives running a digital interference campaign in American politics scored a viral success with a post on Instagram.

    The post appeared on the account @blackstagram__, which was in fact being run by the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked troll farm that U.S. authorities say orchestrated an online campaign to boost Trump’s candidacy in 2016. It racked up 254,000 likes and nearly 7,000 comments—huge numbers for the Kremlin campaign.

    But oddly, the post contained no political content.

    Instead, it repurposed an ad for a women’s shoe, with a photo of women of different skin tones wearing the same strappy high heel in different colors. The caption pitched the shoes as a symbol of racial equality: “All the tones are nude! Get over it!

    While the message itself was not aimed at swaying voters in any direction, researchers now believe it served another purpose for the Russian group: It boosted the reach of its account, likely won it new followers, and tried to establish the account’s bona fides as an authentic voice for the black community.

    That advertising pitch was revealed in a report released Monday by the Senate Intelligence Committee and produced by the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge. The report provides the most comprehensive look to date at the Kremlin’s attempt to boost Trump’s candidacy and offers a surprising insight regarding that campaign: Moscow’s operatives operated much like digital marketers, making use of Instagram to reach a huge audience.

    By blending marketing tactics with political messaging, the Internet Research Agency (IRA) established a formidable online presence in the run-up to the 2016 election (and later), generating 264 million total engagements—a measure of activity such as liking and sharing content—and building a media ecosystem across Facebook and Instagram.

    That campaign sought to bring Russian political goals into the mainstream, exacerbate and inflame divisions in American society, and blur the line between truth and fiction, New Knowledge’s report concludes.

    Amid the intense discussion of Russian interference in the 2016 election, investigators probing that campaign had devoted relatively little attention to Instagram until now. But following their exposure in 2016 and early 2017, the IRA’s operatives shifted resources to Instagram, where their content often outperformed its postings on Facebook. (Instagram is owned by Facebook.)

    Of the 133 Instagram accounts created by the IRA, @blackstagram__ was arguably its most successful, with more than 300,000 followers. Its June 2017 ad for the shoe, made by Kahmune, was the most widely circulated post dreamed up by the Kremlin’s operatives—from a total of some 116,000. (The shoe continues to be marketed by Kahmune. Company officials did not respond to questions from Foreign Policy.)

    The authors of the report believe @blackstagram__ served as a vehicle for Kremlin propaganda targeting the American black community, skillfully adopting the language of Instagram, where viral marketing schemes exist side by side with artfully arranged photographs of toast.

    As Americans streamed to the polls on Nov. 8, 2016, @blackstagram__ offered its contribution to the Kremlin’s campaign to depress turnout, borrowing a line from a Michael Jackson song to tell African-Americans that their votes didn’t matter: “Think twice before you vote. All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us. #Blacktivist #hotnews._

    Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators have secured indictments against the Internet Research Agency’s owner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and a dozen of its employees.

    While the effect of the IRA’s coordinated campaign to depress voter turnout is difficult to assess, the evidence of the group’s online influence is stark. Of its 133 Instagram accounts, 12 racked up more than 100,000 followers—the typical threshold for being considered an online “_influencer” in the world of digital marketing. Around 50 amassed more than 10,000 followers, making them what marketers call “micro-influencers.”

    These accounts made savvy use of hashtags, built relationships with real people, promoted merchandise, and targeted niche communities. The IRA’s most popular Instagram accounts included pages devoted to veterans’ issues (@american.veterans), American Christianity (@army_of_jesus), and feminism (@feminism_tag).

    In a measure of the agency’s creativity, @army_of_jesus appears to have been launched in 2015 as a meme account featuring Kermit the Frog. It then switched subjects and began exclusively posting memes related to the television show The Simpsons. By January 2016, the account had amassed a significant following and reached its final iteration with a post making extensive use of religious hashtags: “#freedom #love #god #bible #trust #blessed #grateful. ” It later posted memes comparing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to Satan.

    The Internet Research Agency operated like a digital marketing agency: develop a brand (both visual and voice), build presences on all channels across the entire social ecosystem, and grow an audience with paid ads as well as partnerships, influencers, and link-sharing,” the New Knowledge report concludes. “Instagram was perhaps the most effective platform.

    Monday’s report, which was published alongside another by researchers at the University of Oxford and the network analysis firm Graphika, is likely to increase scrutiny of social media platforms. The New Knowledge report accuses technology firms of possibly misleading Congress and says companies have not been sufficiently transparent in providing data related to the Russian campaign.

  • Cambridge Analytica demonstrates that Facebook needs to give researchers more access.
    https://slate.com/technology/2018/03/cambridge-analytica-demonstrates-that-facebook-needs-to-give-researchers-more

    In a 2013 paper, psychologist Michal Kosinski and collaborators from University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom warned that “the predictability of individual attributes from digital records of behavior may have considerable negative implications,” posing a threat to “well-being, freedom, or even life.” This warning followed their striking findings about how accurately the personal attributes of a person (from political leanings to intelligence to sexual orientation) could be inferred from nothing but their Facebook likes. Kosinski and his colleagues had access to this information through the voluntary participation of the Facebook users by offering them the results of a personality quiz, a method that can drive viral engagement. Of course, one person’s warning may be another’s inspiration.

    Kosinski’s original research really was an important scientific finding. The paper has been cited more than 1,000 times and the dataset has spawned many other studies. But the potential uses for it go far beyond academic research. In the past few days, the Guardian and the New York Times have published a number of new stories about Cambridge Analytica, the data mining and analytics firm best known for aiding President Trump’s campaign and the pro-Brexit campaign. This trove of reporting shows how Cambridge Analytica allegedly relied on the psychologist Aleksandr Kogan (who also goes by Aleksandr Spectre), a colleague of the original researchers at Cambridge, to gain access to profiles of around 50 million Facebook users.

    According to the Guardian’s and New York Times’ reporting, the data that was used to build these models came from a rough duplicate of that personality quiz method used legitimately for scientific research. Kogan, a lecturer in another department, reportedly approached Kosinski and their Cambridge colleagues in the Psychometric Centre to discuss commercializing the research. To his credit, Kosinski declined. However, Kogan built an app named thisismydigitallife for his own startup, Global Science Research, which collected the same sorts of data. GSR paid Mechanical Turk workers (contrary to the terms of Mechanical Turk) to take a psychological quiz and provide access to their Facebook profiles. In 2014, under the contract with the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, SCL, that data was harvested and used to build a model of 50 million U.S. Facebook users that included allegedly 5,000 data points on each user.

    So if the Facebook API allowed Kogan access to this data, what did he do wrong? This is where things get murky, but bear with us. It appears that Kogan deceitfully used his dual roles as a researcher and an entrepreneur to move data between an academic context and a commercial context, although the exact method of it is unclear. The Guardian claims that Kogan “had a licence from Facebook to collect profile data, but it was for research purposes only” and “[Kogan’s] permission from Facebook to harvest profiles in large quantities was specifically restricted to academic use.” Transferring the data this way would already be a violation of the terms of Facebook’s API policies that barred use of the data outside of Facebook for commercial uses, but we are unfamiliar with Facebook offering a “license” or special “permission” for researchers to collect greater amounts of data via the API.

    Regardless, it does appear that the amount of data thisismydigitallife was vacuuming up triggered a security review at Facebook and an automatic shutdown of its API access. Relying on Wylie’s narrative, the Guardian claims that Kogan “spoke to an engineer” and resumed access:

    “Facebook could see it was happening,” says Wylie. “Their security protocols were triggered because Kogan’s apps were pulling this enormous amount of data, but apparently Kogan told them it was for academic use. So they were like, ‘Fine’.”

    Kogan claims that he had a close working relationship with Facebook and that it was familiar with his research agendas and tools.

    A great deal of research confirms that most people don’t pay attention to permissions and privacy policies for the apps they download and the services they use—and the notices are often too vague or convoluted to clearly understand anyway. How many Facebook users give third parties access to their profile so that they can get a visualization of the words they use most, or to find out which Star Wars character they are? It isn’t surprising that Kosinski’s original recruitment method—a personality quiz that provided you with a psychological profile of yourself based on a common five-factor model—resulted in more than 50,000 volunteers providing access to their Facebook data. Indeed, Kosinski later co-authored a paper detailing how to use viral marketing techniques to recruit study participants, and he has written about the ethical dynamics of utilizing friend data.

    #Facebook #Cambridge_analytica #Recherche

  • Internet perd John Perry Barlow, l’un de ses plus grands défenseurs
    http://www.lefigaro.fr/secteur/high-tech/2018/02/09/32001-20180209ARTFIG00305-internet-perd-john-perry-barlow-l-un-de-ses-plus-

    L’histoire de l’informatique perd l’un de ses meilleurs conteurs. À 70 ans, John Perry Barlow s’est « tranquillement » éteint dans son sommeil, des suites de problèmes cardiaques qui l’avaient affaibli depuis 2015, selon le message commémoratif publié par l’association de défenses des libertés numériques Electronic Frontier Fondation ce 7 février. Celui qui se définissait avec dérision comme un « gourou d’Internet » a joué tout au long de sa vie un rôle de passeur essentiel dans le développement des technologies informatiques, faisant le pont entre des communautés techniques, académiques et le grand public grâce à sa maîtrise du langage et sa malice.

    Qualifié de « barde de la révolution numérique » par ses proches, il s’est rendu célèbre par sa déclaration d’indépendance du cyberespace, un texte écrit lors du forum de Davos de 1996 et repris de manière virale aux prémices du Web pour s’opposer aux tentatives de régulation d’Internet par l’establishment.

    Il a également participé dans les années 1990 à la création du magazine Wired, véritable organe de promotion de la « révolution numérique » qui a permis d’amener la contre-culture hackers aux premiers investisseurs libertariens conservateurs. L’un des premiers numéros envisageait d’ailleurs de le placer en Une. Sans ce type de personnalités, la conversion du sujet numérique en véritable secteur économique et mouvement culturel global n’aurait sans doute pas eu lieu, comme s’est attaché à le démontrer l’historien Fred Turner dans son ouvrage Aux sources de l’utopie numérique.

    #John_Perry_Barlow

  • You followed my bot! Transforming robots into influential users in Twitter
    http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4217/3700

    Systems like Klout and Twitalyzer were developed as an attempt to measure the influence of users within social networks. Although the algorithms used by these systems are not public known, they have been widely used to rank users according to their influence, especially in the Twitter social network. As media companies might base their viral marketing campaigns on influence scores, users might attempt to boost their influence scores with simple mechanisms like following unknown users to be followed back or even interacting with those who reciprocate these actions. In this paper, we investigate if widely used influence scores are vulnerable and easy to manipulate. Our approach consists of developing Twitter bot accounts able to interact with real users to verify strategies that can increase their influence scores according to different systems. Our results show that it is possible to become influential using very simple strategies, suggesting that these systems should review their influence score algorithms to avoid accounting with automatic activity.