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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 6, 2024
  2. Two interlocking research questions of growing interest and importance in privacy research are Authorship Attribution (AA) and Authorship Obfuscation (AO). Given an artifact, especially a text t in question, an AA solution aims to accurately attribute t to its true author out of many candidate authors while an AO solution aims to modify t to hide its true authorship. Traditionally, the notion of authorship and its accompanying privacy concern is only toward human authors. However, in recent years, due to the explosive advancements in Neural Text Generation (NTG) techniques in NLP, capable of synthesizing human-quality openended texts (so-called neural texts), one has to now consider authorships by humans, machines, or their combination. Due to the implications and potential threats of neural texts when used maliciously, it has become critical to understand the limitations of traditional AA/AO solutions and develop novel AA/AO solutions in dealing with neural texts. In this survey, therefore, we make a comprehensive review of recent literature on the attribution and obfuscation of neural text authorship from a Data Mining perspective, and share our view on their limitations and promising research directions. 
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  3. Following the 2016 US elections Twitter launched their Information Operations (IO) hub where they archive account activity connected to state linked information operations. In June 2020, Twitter took down and released a set of accounts linked to Turkey's ruling political party (AKP). We investigate these accounts in the aftermath of the takedown to explore whether AKP-linked operations are ongoing and to understand the strategies they use to remain resilient to disruption. We collect live accounts that appear to be part of the same network, ~30% of which have been suspended by Twitter since our collection. We create a BERT-based classifier that shows similarity between these two networks, develop a taxonomy to categorize these accounts, find direct sequel accounts between the Turkish takedown and the live accounts, and find evidence that Turkish IO actors deliberately construct their network to withstand large-scale shutdown by utilizing explicit and implicit signals of coordination. We compare our findings from the Turkish operation to Russian and Chinese IO on Twitter and find that Turkey's IO utilizes a unique group structure to remain resilient. Our work highlights the fundamental imbalance between IO actors quickly and easily creating free accounts and the social media platforms spending significant resources on detection and removal, and contributes novel findings about Turkish IO on Twitter.

     
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  4. Many online learning platforms and MOOCs incorporate some amount of video-based content into their platform, but there are few randomized controlled experiments that evaluate the effectiveness of the different methods of video integration. Given the large amount of publicly available educational videos, an investigation into this content's impact on students could help lead to more effective and accessible video integration within learning platforms. In this work, a new feature was added into an existing online learning platform that allowed students to request skill-related videos while completing their online middle-school mathematics assignments. A total of 18,535 students participated in two large-scale randomized controlled experiments related to providing students with publicly available educational videos. The first experiment investigated the effect of providing students with the opportunity to request these videos, and the second experiment investigated the effect of using a multi-armed bandit algorithm to recommend relevant videos. Additionally, this work investigated which features of the videos were significantly predictive of students' performance and which features could be used to personalize students' learning. Ultimately, students were mostly disinterested in the skill-related videos, preferring instead to use the platforms existing problem-specific support, and there was no statistically significant findings in either experiment. Additionally, while no video features were significantly predictive of students' performance, two video features had significant qualitative interactions with students' prior knowledge, which showed that different content creators were more effective for different groups of students. These findings can be used to inform the design of future video-based features within online learning platforms and the creation of different educational videos specifically targeting higher or lower knowledge students. The data and code used in this work can be found at https://osf.io/cxkzf/. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 20, 2024