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Social Media and the not so mundane hashtags

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Washington: A new study conducted by a team that includes an Indian American researcher found that using hashtags is a practice which enables messages to reach more people. They tend to be more formal and also drop the use of emoticons and abbreviations.

hashtagBut when Twitter users use the @ symbol to address smaller audiences, they are more likely to use non-standard words such as “nah”, “cuz”, and “smh” said the team from Georgia Institute of Technology.

They also found when people write to someone from the same city, they are even more likely to use non-standard language – often language that is specific to that geographical area.

“Since social media facilitates conversations between people all over the world, we were curious why we still see such a remarkable degree of geographical differentiation in online language,” explained lead researcher Jacob Eisenstein, assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s school of interactive computing.

The findings show that the most geographically differentiated language is more likely to be used in messages that will reach only a local audience, and therefore, will be less likely to spread to other locations.

For this, Eisenstein’s team sifted through three years of tweets that included 114 million geotagged messages from 2.77 million users.

“People want to show their regional identity or their tech savviness, using Twitter-specific terms, to their close social network ties,” added Umashanthi Pavalanathan, Georgia Tech graduate research scientist.

This research shows that for many people on Twitter, non-standard English is not a question of ability, but of reserving standard English for the right social situations.

“In this sense, heavy social media users have an especially nuanced understanding of language, since they maintain multiple linguistic systems. They know to use each system when it’s socially appropriate,” the authors noted in a paper appeared in the journal American Speech.

(with inputs from IANS)

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Facebook Set up a War Room to Fight Election Interference

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad

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Facebook now has a War Room to fight election interference. Pixabay

In line with its efforts to prevent misuse of its platform during elections, Facebook has set up a War Room to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content.

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election. The social networking giant has rolled out several initiatives to fight fake news and bring more transparency and accountability in its advertising since then.

The launch of the first War Room at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, is part of the social network’s new initiatives to fight election interference on its platform.

Although Facebook opened the doors of the War Room ahead of the general elections in Brazil and mid-term elections in the US, it revealed the details only this week.

The goal behind setting up the War Room was to get the right subject-matter experts from across the company in one place so they can address potential problems identified by its technology in real time and respond quickly.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“The War Room has over two dozen experts from across the company – including from our threat intelligence, data science, software engineering, research, community operations and legal teams,” Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement, said in a statement on Thursday.

“These employees represent and are supported by the more than 20,000 people working on safety and security across Facebook,” Chakrabarti added.

Facebook said its dashboards offer real-time monitoring on key elections issues, such as efforts to prevent people from voting, increases in spam, potential foreign interference, or reports of content that violates our policies.

The War Room team also monitors news coverage and election-related activity across other social networks and traditional media in order to identify what type of content may go viral.

These preparations helped a lot during the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections, Facebook claimed.

The social networking giant said its technology detected a false post claiming that Brazil’s Election Day had been moved from October 7 to October 8 due to national protests.

While untrue, that message began to go viral. But the team quickly detected the problem, determined that the post violated Facebook’s policies, and removed it in under an hour.

“And within two hours, we’d removed other versions of the same fake news post,” Chakrabarti said.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

The team in the War Room, Facebook said, also helped quickly remove hate speech posts that were designed to whip up violence against people from northeast Brazil after the first round of election results were called.

“The work we are doing in the War Room builds on almost two years of hard work and significant investments, in both people and technology, to improve security on Facebook, including during elections,” Chakrabarti said.

Earlier this month Facebook said that it was planning to set up a task force comprising “hundreds of people” ahead of the 2019 general elections in India.

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“With the 2019 elections coming, we are pulling together a group of specialists to work together with political parties,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Policy Solutions, told the media in New Delhi.

Facebook has also set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads — now available in the US and Brazil — to India by March next year, Allan informed.

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad. (IANS)

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