Kate Starbird

It was so fringe we kind of laughed at it. That was a terrible mistake. We should have been studying it.¹

Kate Starbird (July 30, 1975 — ) is a researcher of crisis informatics and online rumors. She is an Assistant Professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. [1]

Starbird has been tracing the spread of misinformation on the web since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. [2] Her research points to an intentional use of disinformation by “alternative media” sites with an anti-globalist political agenda, like VeteransToday.com, BeforeItsNews.com, and TheRealStrategy.com, which appears to use bots to generate Profile on automated conspiracy theory tweets. [3]

“Your brain tells you ‘Hey, I got this from three different sources,’ ” she says. “But you don’t realize it all traces back to the same place, and might have even reached you via bots posing as real people. If we think of this as a virus, I wouldn’t know how to vaccinate for it.” [4]

Starbird received her PhD in Technology, Media and Society from the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado, [5] where she received a National Science Foundation Award for the project “Detecting Misinformation Flows in Social Media Spaces During Crisis Events.”[6] She has a BS in Computer Science from Standford University. [7] Starbird is a former professional basketball player, and was the national player of the year in 1997. [8] [9]

Selected papers

  • Rumors, False Flags, and Digital Vigilantes: Misinformation on
    Twitter after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing [10] (text) [11]
  • Information Wars: A Window into the Alternative Media Ecosystem, Conspiracy Theories, Muddled Thinking, and Political Disinformation [12]
  • Examining the Alternative Media Ecosystem through the Production of Alternative Narratives of Mass Shooting Events on Twitter [13]

External links

See also

References

[1] https://medium.com/@katestarbird
[2] http://www.npr.org/2017/04/09/523170115/how-misinformation-spreads-on-the-internet-and-how-to-stop-it
[3] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39930236
[4] http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/uw-professor-the-information-war-is-real-and-were-losing-it/
[5] https://www.hcde.washington.edu/starbird
[6] htt6s://www.hcde.washington.edu/news/kate-starbird-receives-nsf-award
[7] The Communication Crisis in America, And How to Fix It
edited by Mark Lloyd, Lewis A. Friedland p. xxi
[8] Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary edited by David L. Porter p. 451
[9] http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/college/kate-starbird-former-basketball-star-chooses-a-different-route-8212-as-usual/
[10] http://faculty.washington.edu/kstarbi/Starbird_iConference2014-final.pdf (text)
[11] Social Media: A Reference Handbook: A Reference Handbook, by Kelli S. Burns, p. 135
[12] https://medium.com/hci-design-at-uw/information-wars-a-window-into-the-alternative-media-ecosystem-a1347f32fd8f
[13] http://faculty.washington.edu/kstarbi/Alt_Narratives_ICWSM17-CameraReady.pdf (preliminary text)

Megyn, Alex, and the Infowars botnet

Teh interwebs are freaking out over Megyn Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the spider at the center of the Infowars web, with major sponsors frantically pulling their funding left and right (pun intended).

Kelly says she wants to shine a light, but opponents say not in a way that gives him oxygen on Father’s Day, when millions of viewers are watching.

But yeah, someone ought to shine something on this Infowars stuff. This graph is from a 3-year project at the University of Washington.  The turquoise areas of this graph shows the Infowars “alternative facts” botnet empire. This is how political propaganda is spread these days–social media. This chart just shows Twitter.

“The three main hubs in this particular network are VeteransToday.com, BeforeItsNews.com, and NoDisinfo.com…”

And the botnets?

TheRealStrategy:

“…the most tweeted domain in our data was TheRealStrategy.com. It was tweeted so many times (7436) and connected to so many domains (relative to all other domains) that we had to remove it from the graph….Examining the temporal patterns (tweets over time) suggests that almost all of the tweets that linked-to this domain were generated by a computer program. That program operated hundreds of different accounts, directing them to tweet out in regular bursts (dozens at the same time). Most often, these tweets linked to TheRealStrategy, but the program also sprinkled in tweets linking to other alternative media domains. Closer analysis revealed many of these Twitter accounts to have similar profile descriptions and to use photos stolen from other people online.”

Infowars:

“The InfoWars site was the second-most highly tweeted in our data set (1742 times). Almost all of the tweet activity citing InfoWars came from a coordinated set of accounts — all were similarly named and each sent a single tweet linking to one of two InfoWars articles about different alternative narratives of different shooting events.”

Yep, there’s an info war all right. Hope someone is watching this.

Hmm, and here is something for French election aficionados ^^.

hail kekThe “Army of Kek”.  “Kek” is an intentional typo for “lol”, an internet meme used by alt-right Pepe / Gamergate / Trump followers. According to Jacob Steinblatt @JSteinblatt,

“I looked at the most influential users within the Twitter networks tweeting about #JeVote Surprise, several are American pro-Trump accounts”

Addendum:

So who is this Kate Starbird person? I’m glad you asked. Wikipedia is singularly unhelpful. We are told she is a former basketball player. If she was a fictional Pokemon character, there would probably already be several paragraphs. So, in the interests of Science, here is a short bio.

Kate Starbird

It was so fringe we kind of laughed at it. That was a terrible mistake. We should have been studying it.  [– Kate Starbird]

Kate Starbird (July 30, 1975 – ) is a researcher of crisis informatics and online rumors. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.[1]

Starbird has been tracing the spread of misinformation on the web since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.[2] Her research points to an intentional use of disinformation by “alternative media” sites with an anti-globalist political agenda, like VeteransToday.com, BeforeItsNews.com, and TheRealStrategy.com, which appears to use bots to generate automated conspiracy theory tweets. [3]

“Your brain tells you ‘Hey, I got this from three different sources,’ ” she says. “But you don’t realize it all traces back to the same place, and might have even reached you via bots posing as real people. If we think of this as a virus, I wouldn’t know how to vaccinate for it.”[4]

Starbird received her PhD in Technology, Media and Society from the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado, [5] where she received a National Science Foundation Award for the project “Detecting Misinformation Flows in Social Media Spaces During Crisis Events.”[6] She has a BS in Computer Science from Standford University. [7]

Starbird is a former professional basketball player, and was the national player of the year in 1997. [8] She is married to Melissa Marsh, a program manager for The If Project for female prison inmates in Seattle. [9]

Selected papers

  • Rumors, False Flags, and Digital Vigilantes: Misinformation on
    Twitter after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing [10] (text) [11]
  • Information Wars: A Window into the Alternative Media Ecosystem, Conspiracy Theories, Muddled Thinking, and Political Disinformation [12]
  • Examining the Alternative Media Ecosystem through the Production of Alternative Narratives of Mass Shooting Events on Twitter [13]

External links

See also

References

[1] https://medium.com/@katestarbird
[2] http://www.npr.org/2017/04/09/523170115/how-misinformation-spreads-on-the-internet-and-how-to-stop-it
[3] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39930236
[4] http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/uw-professor-the-information-war-is-real-and-were-losing-it/
[5] https://www.hcde.washington.edu/starbird
[6] htt6s://www.hcde.washington.edu/news/kate-starbird-receives-nsf-award
[7] The Communication Crisis in America, And How to Fix It
edited by Mark Lloyd, Lewis A. Friedland p. xxi
[8] Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary edited by David L. Porter p. 451
[9] http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/college/kate-starbird-former-basketball-star-chooses-a-different-route-8212-as-usual/
[10] http://faculty.washington.edu/kstarbi/Starbird_iConference2014-final.pdf (text)
[11] Social Media: A Reference Handbook: A Reference Handbook, by Kelli S. Burns, p. 135
[12] https://medium.com/hci-design-at-uw/information-wars-a-window-into-the-alternative-media-ecosystem-a1347f32fd8f
[13] http://faculty.washington.edu/kstarbi/Alt_Narratives_ICWSM17-CameraReady.pdf

Oh, wait, she *is* the former basketball person. Thanks for nothing, Wikipedia.

Attack on women philosophers

SaintSophia0

Saint Sophia, or Σοφία, the female personification of wisdom

Really this stuff is getting old, and it’s so commonplace I hesitate to even write about it. But since Sashi gave me a shout-out over on Proboards, I will give it a shot.

Here is the usual situation. Someone starts an article about some woman at an editathon, and some patrollers, usually some kids who don’t know anything about writing articles, decide that women can’t possibly do anything “notable” and proceed to try to delete the article.

I wrote about one such situation here, where a group of amateur patrollers decided to target a March 8 International Women’s Day editing event just because it was for women. One typical deletion discussion was at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Risa Horowitz, which pretty much sums up the arguments.

A typical sentiment:

“I would like to point out how demoralizing nominations like there are to new editors and projects like Art+Feminism, and I wonder if deleting is really the best we can do. Is it really not possible to improve articles like these?”

art feminism delection thread

Several articles were deleted several times, mostly without discussion. But the end result was that out of some 26 articles created, 25 are still blue links.

Now, to Sashi’s link. Just for reference, the article is philoSOPHIA, and the issue has now been brought to the arbitration committee for clarification.

In this particular case, I would say that first, SV is a very experienced editor, and that I would hate to find myself on the opposite side from her on anything, no matter how trivial. Second, if she has had to invoke discretionary sanctions for this, she has already lost. Many women will not edit at all except at editathons, and in particular they see Wikipedia “governance” as being rigged against them and want nothing to do with it. That there is now a “clarification request” at WP:AE is not a good sign. It is also not a good sign that Manchester regular RexxS has shown up, as well as hardcore gamergator Masim, and perennial arbcom candidate Salvadrim, also associated with gamergate-friendly sites. If this was just some random inexperienced patrollers, it could have been handled on the talk page or at AfD, but the entry of these individuals raises the stakes, as it also raises questions.

The previous tactic was to try to delete as many articles about women as possible, and if they could not be deleted, at least attach some templates to the top of them, to make them look bogus, and discredit the subject.  But there have been some new patroller tools come down the pike as part of the anti-harassment grants, so does this represent a change in tactics against the GLAM crowd?  Are the usual harassers turning back to arbcom as their traditional power base, and testing its strength and loyalty?

The situation itself is clear cut. Two individuals are edit warring. They should be stopped, but as usual, no one will stop them, because gender. They have invented a policy out of whole cloth, and should be told to start an RfC if they want this as a policy, not to try to shortcut the consensus process through arbcom, but instead they being treated like royalty, like this is already a real policy. Because there are women involved, as well as academics (a newbie with a PhD in philosophy), this has become a culture war, and the haters will be given an opportunity to drive them off.

The actual RfD policy is at WP:BEFORE:

“If there are verifiability, notability or other sourcing concerns, take reasonable steps to search for reliable sources.
“The minimum search expected is a normal Google search, a Google Books search, a Google News search, and a Google News archive search; Google Scholar is suggested for academic subjects.”

A search of Google books for “philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism” turns up a good 10 pages of references. These dudes could have added some sources. Instead, they chose to disrupt the article.

Note: still waiting for the creation of Julkaisufoorumi or rather the translation from the Finnish, which Headbomb rather petulantly insisted remain a red link. The source was quietly removed by his editwar buddy Randykitty in this mass edit.

Hasten-the-day blog war

smiley-face-popcornOkay, you’re going to have to trust me on a lot of this, partly because a lot of the evidence has been scrubbed, and partly because I don’t want to link to sites that dox, and neither of these sites have any scruples in that regard. What evidence remains is on Wikipediocracy’s first blog post about WikiTribune and some archived screenshots on the Wikipedia Review proboards, under their blog post “Wikipediocracy’s misogyny is on display again”.

These are two blogs that pride themselves on Wikipedia criticism.  Their rallying cry is “hasten the day”, abbreviated “HTD”, meaning the day when Wikipedia ceases to exist.  Wikipediocracy was created by paid editors; they are probably still editing as sock puppets, and trying to make money off of it. The Proboards, as far as I can tell, is not interested in paid editing but have probably been on the receiving end of Wikipedia’s toxic culture and possibly Wikipediocracy’s as well, since they are known to be even worse than Wikipedia.

The first move in this war was by the Wikipediocracy blog, one of their typical stalkerish hit pieces on Jimbo’s latest thing, in this case WikiTribune. They got everything wrong, mistaking one in a series of blog posts on Medium.com for an official launch, and ripping off a frivolous photo of a female journalist trying on a costume hat from the news magazine she publishes, without attribution.  The first tipoff was no byline, no one wanted to take responsibility for writing the miserable thing.

The countermove was by a Proboards mod member, who pointed out all of the discrepancies, and was duly blocked for his efforts.  Who could have seen that one coming. Proboards surmised that the writer of the blog piece was Kohs, based on the topic (Jimbo, again) and the perceived aggression towards women with the unflattering photo.  Wikipediocracy mod Zoloft – the one who patronizes bars that feature women wearing tartan bras – made a point of saying he definitely did not write the blog post, but no one came clean on the authorship. So round two was a tie — Proboards made kitty litter out of the blog post, but Zoloft kept his finger on the scrub button, plus Greg got in a good dig about the Proboard guy’s wall-of-text writing style.  The Proboard guy should really take this to heart.  He does have some good insights and writes in an interesting tone, but if he is going to persist in the stream-of-consciousness technique, instead of proper proofreading and editing, he ought to at least make arbitrary paragraph breaks, so it doesn’t look like he just tossed off the first thing that came to mind. Kohs may be as accurate as a stopped clock, but when it comes to style issues, it would pay to listen, as he is likely to be right twice a day.

The third round went to Wikipediocracy, point and match. Zoloft trolled Proboards on their own blog, and doxxed the Proboard mod member by matching him with his previous Wikipediocracy handle.  The Proboards blog went into circular firing squad mode with everyone rage quitting and laying down tools, but not without massive walls of text, which have thankfully now been disappeared.

So the end result: Proboards is basically dead, with a couple of predictably dull misogynists dominating what little comment there is, but Wikipediocracy has sustained enough momentum for a second hit piece on WikiTribune, this one by Zoloft.  And a pitiful thing it is.   Looks like he just googled “WikiTribune” and pasted the search results.  But it will probably keep them going for days on end.  A win for mediocrity and banality all around.

Update: artist’s concept of what happened:

anger-yelling-violence-cycle

drizel drazel drizel drazel drizel drazel

Wonder Woman trolled by Lebanon and alt-right


What is it about these predominantly Muslim countries and the alt-right?   What is the connection?

As I recall, the original gamergate dude who wrote the long screed about the woman who broke up with him was from Turkey.  Coincidence?  And long-time gamergate darling Devil’s Advocate who has been embraced by none other that Breitbart, IIRC is of Arab background.

What is it about a culture where women’s marriages are arranged and women are prohibited from driving a car that draws in these dudes like a magnet?

So this time the alt-right dudes are freaking out over all-woman screening of the new movie. And in Lebanon, in spite of the fact that Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot appeared in the films  Fast and the Furious and Batman vs Superman, the Lebanese government is attempting to ban the film based on the fact that Gadot is an Israeli citizen.

Oh, is that the reason?