Emilio Ferrara

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While most online social media accounts are controlled by humans, these platforms also host automated agents called social bots or sybil accounts. Recent literature reported on cases of social bots imitating humans to manipulate discussions, alter the popularity of users, pollute content and spread misinformation, and even perform terrorist propaganda and(More)
A Sleeping Beauty (SB) in science refers to a paper whose importance is not recognized for several years after publication. Its citation history exhibits a long hibernation period followed by a sudden spike of popularity. Previous studies suggest a relative scarcity of SBs. The reliability of this conclusion is, however, heavily dependent on identification(More)
We describe our work in the collection and analysis of massive data describing the connections between participants to online social networks. Alternative approaches to social network data collection are defined and evaluated in practice, against the popular Facebook Web site. Thanks to our ad-hoc, privacy-compliant crawlers, two large samples, comprising(More)
The World Wide Web contains a huge amount of unstructured and semi-structured information, that is exponentially increasing with the coming of the Web 2.0, thanks to User-Generated Contents (UGC). In this paper we intend to briefly survey the fields of application, in particular enterprise and social applications, and techniques used to approach and solve(More)
The study of criminal networks using traces from heterogeneous communication media is acquiring increasing importance in nowadays society. The usage of communication media such as phone calls and online social networks leaves digital traces in the form of metadata that can be used for this type of analysis. The goal of this work is twofold: first we provide(More)
In the context of preventing and fighting crime, the analysis of mobile phone traffic, among actors of a criminal network, is helpful in order to reconstruct illegal activities on the basis of the relationships connecting those specific individuals. Thus, forensic analysts and investigators require new advanced tools and techniques which allow them to(More)
Social movements rely in large measure on networked communication technologies to organize and disseminate information relating to the movements' objectives. In this work we seek to understand how the goals and needs of a protest movement are reflected in the geographic patterns of its communication network, and how these patterns differ from those of(More)
We examine the temporal evolution of digital communication activity relating to the American anti-capitalist movement Occupy Wall Street. Using a high-volume sample from the microblogging site Twitter, we investigate changes in Occupy participant engagement, interests, and social connectivity over a fifteen month period starting three months prior to the(More)
From politicians and nation states to terrorist groups, numerous organizations reportedly conduct explicit campaigns to influence opinions on social media, posing a risk to freedom of expression. Thus, there is a need to identify and eliminate "influence bots" - realistic, automated identities that illicitly shape discussions on sites like Twitter and(More)