The online interactive magazine of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

The Workshop Program of the Association of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence’s 17th Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM-23) was held in Limassol, Cyprus from June 5-8. There were six workshops in the program: Disrupt, Ally, Resist, Embrace (DARE): Action Items for Computational Social Scientists in a Changing World, Images in Online Political Communication (PhoMemes 2023), Data for the Wellbeing of Most Vulnerable, Novel Evaluation Approaches for Text Classification Systems (NEATCLasS), Mediate 2023: News Media and Computational Journalism, and TrueHealth 2023: Combating Health Misinformation for Social Well-being.

Disrupt, Ally, Resist, Embrace: Action Items for Computational Social Scientists in a Changing World

In the past decade, many sophisticated AI-powered tools have been developed and released to the scientific community and the public at large. At the same time, the socio-technical platforms that are at the center of our observations have transformed in unanticipated ways. Many of these developments have occurred against a backdrop of political and social polarization, and, public health and macroeconomic crises, which offer multiple lenses to contextualize (or distort) scientific reflexivity. To computational social scientists who study computer-mediated human behavior, these on- and offline changes have real implications on whom they study, and how they study them. How, then, should the ICWSM community members act in such a changing world? Which disruptions should they embrace and which ones should they resist? Whom do they ally with, and for what purpose? In this workshop, we invite experience-based perspectives on these issues, aimed at debating and drafting a future research agenda that we want to pursue together. The goal of this full-day workshop is to facilitate collaboration on position papers among its attendees, each of which must propose an actionable item for future computational science research.

Images in Online Political Communication

Visual media has long been a key element of political discourse, and as new online media spaces increasingly focus on imagery (e.g., Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok), new opportunities arise to study how politicians, political elites, and regular users use such imagery. Despite these advances, our understandings of how images are used for online political discussion, mobilization, advocacy, information sharing, and online manipulation lag behind our understandings of text.

This workshop exists in this context, with two core objectives: First, we wish to establish the current state of the art in its ability to handle the variety of imagery used in online social spaces. Second, we intend to allow individuals to advance this state of the art by releasing a dataset of images and two related challenge problems for understanding and tracking the use of images in political discourse.

Data for the Wellbeing of Most Vulnerable, Novel Evaluation Approaches for Text Classification Systems

The scale, reach, and real-time nature of the Internet is opening new frontiers for understanding the vulnerabilities in our societies, including inequalities and fragility in the face of a changing world. From tracking seasonal illnesses like the flu across countries and populations, to understanding the context of mental conditions such as anorexia and bulimia, web data has the potential to capture the struggles and wellbeing of diverse groups of people. Vulnerable populations including children, elderly, racial or ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, underinsured or those with certain medical conditions, are often absent in commonly used data sources. The recent developments around COVID-19 epidemic makes these issues even more urgent, with an unequal share of both disease and economic burden among various populations. 

Thus, the aim of this workshop is to encourage the community to use new sources of data as well as methodologies to study the wellbeing of vulnerable populations. The selection of appropriate data sources, identification of vulnerable groups, and ethical considerations in the subsequent analysis are of great importance in the extension of the benefits of big data revolution to these populations. As such, the topic is highly multidisciplinary, bringing together researchers and practitioners in computer science, epidemiology, demography, linguistics, and many others.

Mediate 2023: News Media and Computational Journalism, and TrueHealth 2023: Combating Health

The fourth MEDIATE workshop was held on June 5, as part of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM). The main goal of the workshop was to bring together media practitioners and technologists to discuss new opportunities and obstacles that arise in the modern era of information diffusion. This year’s theme was: Misinformation: automated journalism, explainable and multi-modal verification and content moderation.

Misinformation for Social Well-being

Combating misinformation in various domains always has positive repercussions from the point of view of social welfare. For example, it is possible to prevent people’s political opinions from being manipulated through propaganda; it is possible to benefit consumers by preventing them from making purchases on the basis of false reviews; it is possible to reduce social anxiety about catastrophic events that are not actually occurring.

In the field of health, combating health misinformation through the definition of technological solutions that can prevent users from coming into contact with false/inaccurate/unverified information has even more positive repercussions, both for increasing health literacy and the health of individuals, and for the protection of public health, with consequent benefits also for national health systems.