Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

Computational Social Science

Big Data: big insights into human behavior

One of the emerging memes of recent years has been around “big data”—the development of very large data sets around many domains. In the area of human behavior, there are these vast reservoirs of information about our lives that have accumulated, in everywhere from our inboxes to cellular phone companies to credit card companies, to the Internet, where a large fraction of all human expression is now taking place for all to see.

These data must surely offer awesome insights into both individual and human behavior, and our perspective on both will change as a result.

Computational Social Science: Publications List

Publications list

N. Cao, Y. Lin, X. Sun, D. Lazer, S. Liu and H. Qu, “Whisper: Tracing the Spatiotemporal Process of Information Diffusion in Real Time,” IEEE Information Visualization 2012, (also forthcoming in IEEETransactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics).

Y. Lin, J. Bagrow, and D. Lazer, “More Voices than Ever? Quantifying Media Bias in Networks,” ICWSM-11, Barcelona, 2011.

A Madan, S. Moturu, D. Lazer, and A Pentland “Social Sensing: Obesity, unhealthy Eating and Exercise in Face-to-face Networks”, proceedings of ACM Wireless Health 2010, San Diego, 2010.

A Madan, M. Cebrian, D. Lazer, and A. Pentland “Social Sensing to Model Epidemiological Behavior Change”, Proceedings of ACM Ubicomp 2010, Copenhagen (Nominated for Best Paper), 2010.

N. Eagle, A. Pentland, and D. Lazer, “Inferring friendship structure using mobile phone data,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 17, 2009.

D. Lazer, I. Mergel, and A. Friedman, “Co-citation of prominent social network articles in sociology journals: The evolving canon,” Connections, April, 2009.

D. Lazer, A. Pentland, L. Adamic, S. Aral, A-L Barabasi, D. Brewer, N. Christakis, N. Contractor, J. Fowler, M. Gutmann, T. Jebara, G. King, M. Macy, D. Roy, and M. Van Alstyne “Computational Social Science,” Science, February 6, 2009. 

J.-P. Onnela, J. Saramäki, J. Hyvönen, G. Szabó, D. Lazer, K. Kaskil, J. Kertész, and A.-L. Barabási,  “Structure and tie strengths in mobile communication networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 1, 2007.

Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
01/2019
Authors: 
Ronald Robertson
Shan Jiang
Kenneth Joseph
Lisa Friedland
David Lazer
Christo Wilson

There is a growing concensus that online platforms have a systematic influence on the democratic process. However, research beyond social media is limited. In this paper, we report the results of a mixed-methods algorithm audit of partisan audience bias and personalization within Google Search.

Report
Publication date: 
01/2019
Authors: 
David Lazer
Matthew Baum
Nir Grinberg
Lisa Friedland
Kenneth Joseph
Will Hobbs
Carolina Mattsson

Recent shifts in the media ecosystem raise new concerns about the vulnerability of democratic societies to fake news and the public's limited ability to contain it. Fake news as a form of misinformation benefits from the fast pacae that information travels in today's media ecosystem, in particular across social media platforms.

Journal Article
Publication date: 
01/2019
Authors: 
Nir Grinberg
Kenneth Joseph
Lisa Friedland
Briony Swire Thompson
David Lazer

The spread of fake news on social media became a public concern in the United States after the 2016 presidential election. We examined exposure to and sharing of fake news by registered voters on Twitter and found that engagement with fake news sources was extremely concentrated. Only 1% of individuals accounted for 80% of fake news source exposures, and 0.1% accounted for nearly 80% of fake news sources shared.

Journal Article
Publication date: 
03/2018
Authors: 
David Lazer
Matthew Baum
Yochai Benkler
Adam J. Berinsky
Kelly M. Greenhill
Filippo Menczer
Miriam J. Metzger
Brendan Nyhan
Gordon Pennycook
David Rothschild
Michael Schudson
Steven A. Sloman
Cass R. Sunstein
Emily A. Thorson
Duncan J. Watts
Jonathan L. Zittrain

The rise of fake news highlights the erosion of long-standing institutional bulwarks against misinformation in the internet age. Concern over the problem is global. However, much remains unknown regarding the vulnerabilities of individuals, institutions, and society to manipulations by malicious actors. A new system of safeguards is needed.

Journal Article
© heikenz 2019
Publication date: 
02/2018
Authors: 
David Lazer

The rise of fake news highlights the erosion of long-standing institutional bulwarks against misinformation in the internet age. Concern over the problem is global. However, much remains unknown regarding the vulnerabilities of individuals, institutions, and society to manipulations by malicious actors. A new system of safeguards is needed.

Keywords: 
Fake News
Journal Article
Publication date: 
08/2017

Many companies have proprietary resources and/or data that are indispensable for research, and academics provide the creative fuel for much early-stage research that leads to industrial innovation. It is essential to the health of the research enterprise that collaborations between industrial and university researchers flourish. This system of collaboration is under strain.

Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
09/2017
Authors: 
Kenneth Joseph
Lisa Friedland
Will Hobbs
David Lazer
Oren Tsur

Manual annotations are a prerequisite for many applications of machine learning. However, weaknesses in the annotation process itself are easy to overlook. In particular, scholars often choose what information to give to annotators without examining these decisions empirically. For subjective tasks such as sentiment analysis, sarcasm, and stance detection, such choices can impact results.

Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
08/2017
Authors: 
John Wihbey
Kenneth Joseph
Thalita Dias Coleman
David Lazer

The present work proposes the use of social media as a tool for better understanding the relationship between a journalists' social network and the content they produce. Specifically, we ask: what is the relationship between the ideological leaning of a journalist's social network on Twitter and the news content he or she produces?

Keywords: 
Twitter
journalism
filter bubble
echo chambers
computational social science
Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
05/2017
Authors: 
Will Hobbs
Lisa Friedland
Kenneth Joseph
Oren Tsur
Stefan J. Wojcik
David Lazer

Over the past 12 years, nearly 20 U.S. States have adopted voter photo identification laws, which require voters to show a picture ID to vote. These laws have been challenged in numerous lawsuits, resulting in a variety of court decisions and, in several instances, revised legislation.