[gov3009-l] Applied Stats 11/12

Dana Higgins danahiggins at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Nov 10 09:26:04 EST 2014

Hi everyone!

This week at the Applied Statistics Workshop we will be welcoming *Yaron
Singer*, a Professor of Computer Science here at Harvard.  He will be
presenting work entitled* Ceci n'est pas un #ad: Detection and Analysis of
Covert Ads in Social Media*.  Please find the abstract below and on the
website (here

As usual, we will meet in CGIS Knafel Room 354 and lunch will be provided.
See you all there!

-- Dana Higgins

*Title:* Ceci n'est pas un #ad: Detection and Analysis of Covert Ads in
Social Media

*Abstract:* In online social networks such as Facebook or Twitter users can
advertise products and services by using appropriate labels to convey the
content they publish is sponsored.  A growing concern is that many users
intentionally conceal the commercial intent behind the promotions they
publish, disguising them as authentic recommendations.

In this talk we will discuss the problem of covert ads in social media.  We
will present a systematic approach for covert ad detection in social media
platforms and use this approach to analyze covert ads. The main challenge
is due to the fact that covert ads are not labeled and it is a priori
difficult to distinguish their content from authentic recommendations.  We
develop specialized algorithms for characterizing redirection links used
for sponsored referrals, as well as classifiers for detecting content that
is of commercial nature.  We then apply these algorithms to detect covert
ads and study this phenomenon.  To evaluate the performance of the
algorithms we use the Mechanical Turk platform which allows us to evaluate
our algorithms using human annotators.
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