Talks: Torino Hack Night

section h3 a(href='') p.right Torino Hacknight, Toolbox Coworking, 23/02/2017 p.right | Gilberto Conti a(href='') @_bicno p.right a(href='') FEE6694981538A34 section section(data-background='black') blockquote Did you hear that Facebook is messing up with the timeline? p.right i -- someone, in the U-Bahn section img(src='/images/blockingofextremism.png') p a(href='') via Reuters | (2016-06-25) section img(src='/images/facebookEmotionsManipulation.png') p a(href='') via TheGuardian | (2014-06-29) + a(href='') Paper | . section img(src='/images/facebookRulesOnExperimenting.png') p a(href='') via TechnologyReview | (2016-06-15) section img(src='/images/ferguson.png') p a(href='') a medium post of Zeynep Tufekci | (2014-08-14) section img(src='/images/social-media-week.png') p a(href='') via Social Media Week | (2017-01-23) section img(src='/images/zeroedge.png') p a(href='') via Zero Hedge | (2017-01-16) section section p.left In spite of appearances, I feel a strong esteem for Facebook as a company p.right b | This project is intended to support society, policy makers, journalists and users to get a better understanding about power dynamics in the algorithms age p.left | Facebook has 1 billion ~700 million (maybe) users worldwide, will remain for many years a reference point and their influence can only increase p.right Society was not so ready, probably? section h2 Collective behaviour ul li | It is driven by b Social policies ul li Tools for the collectivity to do self-governance and self-awareness li Intended to dissuade harmful behaviour and incentivate useful behaviour p Social policies have to be openly discussed section p b Personalisation algorithms | are a tool of b Social Politics! section h2 problems with that? ul li | Collectivity has no accountability on the b social outcome | is simply powerless li | Currently private company are driven by business interest determining what it is better and what it is not section blockquote | “These algorithms, when they are not transparent, can lead to a distortion of our perception, they narrow our breadth of information.” a(href='') img(src='/images/MerkelGoogleFacebook.png') section h3 "distortion of perception", aka ul li Filter bubble li Echo chambers li Algorithm discrimination li (Technocratic scapegoat ?) section h3 The problems: ul li Am I in the bubble? li How much the bubble is big? li There are other bubbles? li As the bubble influences me? section section h3 Let's start from a post img(src='/images/pitch_facebookMetadata.png') section p In order to see the effects of a personalisation algorithm: img(src='/images/pitch_simpleviz.png') section img(src='/images/pitch_impact.png') p | after September, a small team is born around the project, and we took steps to reach a beta phase. section(data-background='yellow') section h3 the project p | Our vision is to increase transparency behind personalization algorithms, so that people can have more effective control of their online Facebook experience and more awareness of the information to which they are exposed. section section h3 How does it work? ul li | Facebook users who joined our project are named b Supporters | . It is an explicit opt-in, you need to install a browser extension do be part of it. li.fragment | the Extension, b monitors and scrapes | the Supporter feed, when it finds a public shared post, it collects the HTML section, and sends it to a server img(src='/images/public.png') li.fragment | All other content, for example the one shared with friends only, are ignored img(src='/images/notpublic.png') i.fragment | we don't want to risk to leak activities intended for a restricted audience, because we might have no control over the dataset. section h3 how to keep supporters engaged? p we can provide informations Facebook cannot! ul.fragment li Escape the filter bubble li Understand your personal trends li Understand you friends influence li To see the Human networks you belong section h3 more happy users, more data for researcher! p.left | Personalisation algorithms influence the collectively, and collectivity have to be analyzed p.right | Have some fresh/new users behaving in the same way, might facebook treating them equally? which are the parameters that influence more? p | 💡 Can you emulate an high income Luxembourg user and compare with a low income granpa near the German border? (different browser) section h3 Alpha - Goal (Set 2016) ul.fragment li | Show a concept of “monitoring the social media from the user point of view” tool. li | Envision a project able to engage with a diverse audience. li | Attract attention in the technical and human rights defender community in order to raise criticism of the social media power. li | Explore ways to make the power of the algorithms, otherwise invisible and still greatly debated, “visible”. section h3 Alpha - Stack ul.fragment li | TamperMonkey (a framework for web extension). The userscript parses the facebook posts and extracts metadata. li | A server based on nodejs and mongodb. Server receives metadata extracted by the userscript. li | A set of analysis function to analyse the dataset derived from the collection. The function is accessible via web API, and the content visualized via webapp (d3.js) section h3 Alpha - Considerations ul.fragment li | Promoted posts and Feed posts have a different nature. The former do not have a publication date. Problem: if promoted post has to be considered along with the feed, ignored, or analyzed separately for a different purpose. li | Facebook changes the HTML format quite frequently. As a technical mandate, we’ve to keep our dataset clean. section h3 Beta - Goal (Dec 2016) ul.fragment li | Privacy statement (Greg McMullen): a clear statement concerning the data we manage, how we manage them, and how we deal with user's privacy. li Archiving: row data from extensions li | Distributed analysis: The process metadata extraction can be outsourced in development and in computation power. section h3 Beta - Goal ul.fragment li Enabling skilled adopters: some simple and anonymized API li | Sharing agreement: The goal is to set the appropriate ethical standard under which stakeholders can freely obtain access to our database in order to perform advanced researches. Avoiding SOCMINT section h3 Beta - Stack ul.fragment li Public/private key schema for contributors’ authentication. li | API for distributed data mining. They have been already used by others people (within the framework, or in python to do natural language processing). li | Selecting javascript framework for simple visualization and third party inclusion (beside d3.js, c3.js heatmap-cal and are used right now). section section h3 FAQ ul li | Often the project has been mistaken as a tool that might offer a different experience of facebook directly: it is not, we'll work only passively on the timeline of the user. li | Can Facebook block the plugin? well, for sure they can give us trouble, but we are not using the API, so also their way to control our usage has to be targeted against the project. section h3 FAQ ul li | Information diet: we oppose to the idea that technology might tell you what is a fake news, a validated news, a trusted source, etc. Technology can’t replace critical judgment. Our goal is to compare the information you are exposed during your facebook experience, with a larger and differentiated set of sources. The user would decide if he’s happy with what is exposed on facebook or rather whether he thinks he should enlarge his information base. section section h3 Interfaces ul li | Provide interfaces with actual features, features that facebook can't provide, is the strategical way to get users feel a beneficial effects from adopting the tool li a(href='') RealityCheck section h3 | API p | Time of activity of the supporter p | Absolute order post list p section h3 Parsers img(src='/images/fbtrex-parser-workflow.png') section h3 Dataset img(src='/images/fbtrex-parser-workflow-2.png') section h3 Running parsers ul li | postType li | promotedTitle li | promotedLink li | promotedInfo li | feedPostHref li | feedReactions li | imageTag(?) section h4 and now? ul.left li we need Researchers and Developers of new visualisations! li | Grants and donation with the help of a(href='') Center for the Cultivation of Technology | umbrella.