skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Mitra, Tanushree"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Online discussion platforms provide a forum to strengthen and propagate belief in misinformed conspiracy theories. Yet, they also offer avenues for conspiracy theorists to express their doubts and experiences of cognitive dissonance. Such expressions of dissonance may shed light on who abandons misguided beliefs and under what circumstances. This paper characterizes self-disclosures of dissonance about QAnon-a conspiracy theory initiated by a mysterious leader "Q" and popularized by their followers ?anons"-in conspiratorial subreddits. To understand what dissonance and disbelief mean within conspiracy communities, we first characterize their social imaginaries-a broad understanding of how people collectively imagine their social existence. Focusing on 2K posts from two image boards, 4chan and 8chan, and 1.2 M comments and posts from 12 subreddits dedicated to QAnon, we adopt a mixed-methods approach to uncover the symbolic language representing the movement,expectations,practices,heroes and foes of the QAnon community. We use these social imaginaries to create a computational framework for distinguishing belief and dissonance from general discussion about QAnon, surfacing in the 1.2M comments. We investigate the dissonant comments to characterize the dissonance expressed along QAnon social imaginaries. Further, analyzing user engagement with QAnon conspiracy subreddits, we find that self-disclosures of dissonance correlate with a significant decrease in usermore »contributions and ultimately with their departure from the community. Our work offers a systematic framework for uncovering the dimensions and coded language related to QAnon social imaginaries and can serve as a toolbox for studying other conspiracy theories across different platforms. We also contribute a computational framework for identifying dissonance self-disclosures and measuring the changes in user engagement surrounding dissonance. Our work provide insights into designing dissonance based interventions that can potentially dissuade conspiracists from engaging in online conspiracy discussion communities.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2022
  2. Narrative sensemaking is a fundamental process to understand sequential information. Narrative maps are a visual representation framework that can aid analysts in this process. They allow analysts to understand the big picture of a narrative, uncover new relationships between events, and model connections between storylines. As a sensemaking tool, narrative maps have applications in intelligence analysis, misinformation modeling, and computational journalism. In this work, we seek to understand how analysts construct narrative maps in order to improve narrative map representation and extraction methods. We perform an experiment with a data set of news articles. Our main contribution is an analysis of how analysts construct narrative maps. The insights extracted from our study can be used to design narrative map visualizations, extraction algorithms, and visual analytics tools to support the sensemaking process.
  3. Struggling to curb misinformation, social media platforms are experimenting with design interventions to enhance consumption of credible news on their platforms. Some of these interventions, such as the use of warning messages, are examples of nudges---a choice-preserving technique to steer behavior. Despite their application, we do not know whether nudges could steer people into making conscious news credibility judgments online and if they do, under what constraints. To answer, we combine nudge techniques with heuristic based information processing to design NudgeCred--a browser extension for Twitter. NudgeCred directs users' attention to two design cues: authority of a source and other users' collective opinion on a report by activating three design nudges---Reliable, Questionable, and Unreliable, each denoting particular levels of credibility for news tweets. In a controlled experiment, we found that NudgeCred significantly helped users (n=430) distinguish news tweets' credibility, unrestricted by three behavioral confounds---political ideology, political cynicism, and media skepticism. A five-day field deployment with twelve participants revealed that NudgeCred improved their recognition of news items and attention towards all of our nudges, particularly towards Questionable. Among other considerations, participants proposed that designers should incorporate heuristics that users' would trust. Our work informs nudge-based system design approaches for online media.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2022
  4. As news organizations embrace transparency practices on their websites to distinguish themselves from those spreading misinformation, HCI designers have the opportunity to help them effectively utilize the ideals of transparency to build trust. How can we utilize transparency to promote trust in news? We examine this question through a qualitative lens by interviewing journalists and news consumers---the two stakeholders in a news system. We designed a scenario to demonstrate transparency features using two fundamental news attributes that convey the trustworthiness of a news article: source and message. In the interviews, our news consumers expressed the idea that news transparency could be best shown by providing indicators of objectivity in two areas (news selection and framing) and by providing indicators of evidence in four areas (presence of source materials, anonymous sourcing, verification, and corrections upon erroneous reporting). While our journalists agreed with news consumers' suggestions of using evidence indicators, they also suggested additional transparency indicators in areas such as the news reporting process and personal/organizational conflicts of interest. Prompted by our scenario, participants offered new design considerations for building trustworthy news platforms, such as designing for easy comprehension, presenting appropriate details in news articles (e.g., showing the number and nature ofmore »corrections made to an article), and comparing attributes across news organizations to highlight diverging practices. Comparing the responses from our two stakeholder groups reveals conflicting suggestions with trade-offs between them. Our study has implications for HCI designers in building trustworthy news systems.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2022
  5. Widespread conspiracy theories, like those motivating anti-vaccination attitudes or climate change denial, propel collective action, and bear society-wide consequences. Yet, empirical research has largely studied conspiracy theory adoption as an individual pursuit, rather than as a socially mediated process. What makes users join communities endorsing and spreading conspiracy theories? We leverage longitudinal data from 56 conspiracy communities on Reddit to compare individual and social factors determining which users join the communities. Using a quasi-experimental approach, we first identify 30K future conspiracists?(FC) and30K matched non-conspiracists?(NC). We then provide empirical evidence of the importance of social factors across six dimensions relative to the individual factors by analyzing 6 million Reddit comments and posts. Specifically, in social factors, we find that dyadic interactions with members of the conspiracy communities and marginalization outside of the conspiracy communities are the most important social precursors to conspiracy joining-even outperforming individual factor baselines. Our results offer quantitative backing to understand social processes and echo chamber effects in conspiratorial engagement, with important implications for democratic institutions and online communities.
  6. Narratives are fundamental to our perception of the world and are pervasive in all activities that involve the representation of events in time. Yet, modern online information systems do not incorporate narratives in their representation of events occurring over time. This article aims to bridge this gap, combining the theory of narrative representations with the data from modern online systems. We make three key contributions: a theory-driven computational representation of narratives, a novel extraction algorithm to obtain these representations from data, and an evaluation of our approach. In particular, given the effectiveness of visual metaphors, we employ a route map metaphor to design a narrative map representation. The narrative map representation illustrates the events and stories in the narrative as a series of landmarks and routes on the map. Each element of our representation is backed by a corresponding element from formal narrative theory, thus providing a solid theoretical background to our method. Our approach extracts the underlying graph structure of the narrative map using a novel optimization technique focused on maximizing coherence while respecting structural and coverage constraints. We showcase the effectiveness of our approach by performing a user evaluation to assess the quality of the representation, metaphor, andmore »visualization. Evaluation results indicate that the Narrative Map representation is a powerful method to communicate complex narratives to individuals. Our findings have implications for intelligence analysts, computational journalists, and misinformation researchers.« less
  7. The inverted pyramid is a basic structure of news reporting used by journalists to convey information and it is considered a key element of objectivity in news reporting. In this article, we propose the Inverted Pyramid Scoring method to evaluate how well a news article follows the inverted pyramid structure using main event descriptors (5W1H) extraction and news summarization. We evaluate our proposed method on a proprietary data set of Associated Press news articles across breaking and non-breaking news spanning two topics—political and business. Our results show that the method works at distinguishing the structural differences between breaking and non-breaking news. In particular, our results confirm that breaking news articles are more likely to follow the inverted pyramid structure.
  8. The inverted pyramid is a basic structure of news reporting used by journalists to convey information and it is considered a key element of objectivity in news reporting. In this article, we propose the Inverted Pyramid Scoring method to evaluate how well a news article follows the inverted pyramid structure using main event descriptors (5W1H) extraction and news summarization. We evaluate our proposed method on a proprietary data set of Associated Press news articles across breaking and non-breaking news spanning two topics—political and business. Our results show that the method works at distinguishing the structural differences between breaking and non-breaking news. In particular, our results confirm that breaking news articles are more likely to follow the inverted pyramid structure.
  9. Concerns about the spread of misinformation online via news articles have led to the development of many tools and processes involving human annotation of their credibility. However, much is still unknown about how different people judge news credibility or the quality or reliability of news credibility ratings from populations of varying expertise. In this work, we consider credibility ratings from two “crowd” populations: 1) students within journalism or media programs, and 2) crowd workers on UpWork, and compare them with the ratings of two sets of experts: journalists and climate scientists, on a set of 50 climate-science articles. We find that both groups’ credibility ratings have higher correlation to journalism experts compared to the science experts, with 10-15 raters to achieve convergence. We also find that raters’ gender and political leaning impact their ratings. Among article genre of news/opinion/analysis and article source leaning of left/center/right, crowd ratings were more similar to experts respectively with opinion and strong left sources.