Source: This article was published business2community.com - Contributed by Member: Patrick Moore

In order to get more exposure for your personal brand, it’s important to know exactly what your target audience is seeking after. With the right research strategies in place, your business can attract more leads to your products or services.

LinkedIn is a premier networking resource as well as a warm lead generator. This large social network is an ideal platform for gathering information and conducting research for your niche. There are several ways your brand can attract the right leads for your business.

  • Connect with the right people – It’s important to be specific when gaining insights. Only seek after those who are in a related or similar field of interest, have influencer status, and are active both online and offline. Many times you can network at events, webinars, social media groups, Twitter chats, ect., which can open the doors to find targeted leads.
  • Take advantage of advanced search options – Use LinkedIn’s expanded queries to set up specific criteria – this includes people, jobs, content, companies, groups, and schools. Another method is to take a look at specific content that relates to your brand and conduct research on the author.
  • Create the new business or work opportunities – LinkedIn is an online portal to not only find jobs but also qualified candidates and new clients for your business. You can also see what your competitors are looking for inside your target market as it relates specifically to their skills and knowledge.
  • Become a trusted source through groups – Once you become a member of an active, professional group within your niche your brand can gain valuable feedback through asking and answering questions, sharing valuable insights and content, and posting videos and images that can add value to your community. This also applies to those who want to create their own professional group for even more networking opportunities.

LinkedIn is an ideal place for personal brands to link up with professionals in their industry as well as attract new leads. By being helpful, professional, and consistent your network will grow and attract more loyal followers to your brand. This is one of the few resources left where you can to gather insights and information on your industry and potential customers for free without the need to pay for advertising.

Categorized in How to

Source: This article was published helpnetsecurity.com - Contributed by Member: Corey Parker

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and University of Washington researchers have developed a new generic method to detect fake accounts on most types of social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

According to their new study in Social Network Analysis and Mining, the new method is based on the assumption that fake accounts tend to establish improbable links to other users in the networks.

“With recent disturbing news about failures to safeguard user privacy, and targeted use of social media by Russia to influence elections, rooting out fake users has never been of greater importance,” explains Dima Kagan, lead researcher and a researcher in the BGU Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering.

“We tested our algorithm on simulated and real-world datasets on 10 different social networks and it performed well on both.”

The algorithm consists of two main iterations based on machine-learning algorithms. The first constructs a link prediction classifier that can estimate, with high accuracy, the probability of a link existing between two users.

The second iteration generates a new set of meta-features based on the features created by the link prediction classifier. Lastly, the researchers used these meta-features and constructed a generic classifier that can detect fake profiles in a variety of online social networks.

Here’s a helpful video explanation of how it all works:

“Overall, the results demonstrated that in a real-life friendship scenario we can detect people who have the strongest friendship ties as well as malicious users, even on Twitter,” the researchers say. “Our method outperforms other anomaly detection methods and we believe that it has considerable potential for a wide range of applications particularly in the cyber-security arena.”

Other researchers who contributed are Dr. Michael Fire of the University of Washington (former Ben-Gurion U. doctoral student) and Prof. Yuval Elovici, director of Cyber@BGU and a member of the BGU Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering.

The Ben-Gurion University researchers previously developed the Social Privacy Protector (SPP) Facebook app to help users evaluate their friend's list in seconds to identify which have few or no mutual links and might be “fake” profiles.

Categorized in Social

Search multiple social networks at the same time on this free website

What is it? A free search engine to help journalists find posts about certain topics on social networks.

How is it of use to journalists? Social media is becoming an increasingly powerful channel for sourcing stories, but with the number of platforms now around it's becoming more difficult to stay on top of the chatter.

It may be that you're looking for reactions on social about certain news events, or you might be trying to find eyewitnesses, photos or videos from the scene of a story.

With Social Searcher, you can search for keywords on multiple platforms at the same time.

The social networking search engine supports a wide variety of platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, and YouTube.

You can save individual searches you may need to perform more often, and use advanced filters to help you find what you're looking for quicker.

search results social searcher
Screenshot of search results.

Social Searcher enables you to search based on 'post types', for example, and find results that include links, photos, videos or any combination of media.

Each search also comes with its own analytics dashboard, where you can see the most popular related hashtags, the overall sentiment of the posts (i.e. if the language denotes a positive view of the topic), or other keywords that are often featured alongside the terms used in your search.

Social Searcher is free to use for up to 100 searches a day, after which you can choose from a number of pricing options available.

These include additional features such as the ability to save individual posts, access web mentions of keywords, and use the 'monitoring' service.

'Monitoring' enables you to save the mentions history, access advanced analytics and export data as a CSV file.

Social Searcher started out in 2012 as an Android app allowing users to search through Facebook without logging in and has since expanded to become a comprehensive tool for finding posts on social media.

 Source: This article was published journalism.co.uk By Catalina Albeanu

Categorized in Search Engine

Did you know that 37% of all consumers say they use Social Media to find out about products/services?

The big question: Are social networks search engines?

Social Media is not just a place where you can connect with potential customers. Each Social Network now has its own search functionality which is a powerful tools which every business should be utilising.

If you’re new to Social Media, or new to the concept of Social Media Optimisation, and the ability to search, and be found inside of Social, here is a breakdown of each social network, their search functionality and best practices.


Facebook are currently testing a new and exciting local search feature that is said to rival the likes of Google Maps and Foursquare. Facebook users will be able to look at recommendations of places in a location near them.


Facebook said the following:

“We’re testing a new way to discover where to go and what to do around you.”

Another great search feature inside of Facebook is Facebook’s Graph Search. You’re probably thinking “I thought this had been removed”. It hasn’t. Well, not entirely.

Facebook Graph Search is still available, but it is hidden. You can use the simple search features but to get the more advanced search functionality, you must search a long-tail keyword and when the results appear, click “see more” to get full access.

If a potential customer is trying to find a business through keywords around your industry, make sure that the keywords are in the posts you share on Facebook, in your description, bio and that you also link back to your website.

If you are going to use Facebook to promote your business, don’t get disheartened by the lack of “reach”. Keep engaging on a regular basis, and look at ways to increase your following by running live webinars, events and competitions.


As you probably know, Twitter is my favourite social network. I love Twitter not just because of the engagement I get, but because of its search functionality and the features available to hone in on what’s important.

Using Twitter’s Advanced Search

Advanced search is available when you’re logged into your Twitter account so that you can tailor search results to specific date ranges, people and more. This makes it easier to find specific Tweets about your industry.

  1. Enter your search into the search bar on twitter.com.
  2. At the top of your results page, click More options and then click Advanced search.
  3. Fill in the appropriate fields to refine your search results
  4. Click Search to see your results.

You can refine your advanced search by tweets containing certain words, phrases and hashtags. You can also filter based on language used, tweets from specific users and places as well as by dates.

To make sure you can be found via a potential customers refined search, include your location on your Twitter profile, have a description and a link back to your website. Also use your specific niche keywords for your business in your tweets so that if someone searches for that keyword, it will bring your business up.

Top Tip: Create a “Twitter List” of influencers in your industry so that you can hone in on what’s important. You should also consider using the advanced search feature to find potential customers talk about your business, or products/services that you are currently marketing online.


You might look at Pinterest and think whether it is a social network you should be using. The answer is YES.

Pinterest has an amazing search functionality, and using Pinterest to upload visuals will give you a great Google Image ranking, if done correctly.

I recently wrote an article about the latest Pinterest updates around search which you can read here.

Best Practice


Inside of Pinterest, the use of keywords is crucial. You should have all relevant keywords in your Pinterest bio, the descriptions of pins. You should also make sure that you are using a call-to-action in the description of your pins. Having your keywords in the descriptions of your boards will make them more “searchable” but keep it simple e.g. Social Media Tips.


When creating a board, use a cover image that matches the overall feel of your brand, and colour scheme.


80% of pins are re-pins. If you are going to re-pin, do make sure that you only openly re-pin pins that are relevant to your business, and your target market. For consistency, and overall brand awareness, this is important as you do not want to confuse your community.

Linking Back To Your Website

All of your pins, regardless of whether they are a re-pin should link back to your website.

Top Tip: If you are a business, switch to a Pinterest Business Account so that you can take advantage of rich pins. Rich Pins are Pins that include extra information right on the Pin itself. There are 6 types of Rich Pins: app, movie, recipe, article, product and place.


Did you know that 30% of internet users are now on Instagram?

Instagram has been the social network of 2017, with the introduction of slideshow images, and Instagram Stories but, is Instagram a search engine? Yes, it is.

You can now use Instagram to search for a specific person’s followers, and who they are following through a search bar feature. This is a great way for you to find potential customers when looking at a competitor’s followers.

Instagram is known as the social network which relies heavily on searching through hashtags to find a user, image or video (apart from the above feature).

Best Practices

Use Relevant Hashtags

To be found inside of Instagram’s search engine, you need to be using hashtags, and I don’t just mean the odd one or two. You need to be using between 10–20 hashtags per post, and these hashtags need to be relevant to your business.

Quality Photos

For a potential customer to “like” one of your photos, you need to be using hashtags, as well as great quality images. Make sure that you use a tool like Snapseed to add a filter to your images.

Create Video’s Using Instagram Stories Then Post On Your Newsfeed

Use Instagram stories to film a real-time video. Make sure that you also link back to your website inside of the video and then take the video and put it on your Instagram account for those who may have missed your story.


YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute so if you aren’t already utilising YouTube’s large audience, you might be missing out on potential sales for your business.

When creating a video, consider the following:


You have the option to add a “subscribe” button, a link to a verified website and also a “suggested video”. Use these options to re-direct traffic back to your website, or to give your viewer a chance to get to know your business better by watching another video, and subscribing.


Select A Language

This is extremely important if you are targeting a location which speaks a certain language.

Create Playlists

A great way to keep your viewer engaged, and to be better found inside of YouTube is to create a playlist based on your videos.

Add a date

When searching inside of YouTube, you can search by date so make sure that all of your video’s have a date.

Create Your Unique URL

As you would for your Facebook Page, make sure that you create your own unique URL.

Don’t forget to add a description to every single video you upload including your business keywords, as well as Social Media Links, and where your viewer can find more information about your business.


Google+ is very different to all of the above social networks and that is because that although it isn’t a search engine, uploading all of your blogs and content rich in keywords will actually give you the chance to rank on the first page of Google for those keywords BECAUSE of the Google+ post.

This is the only reason I use Google+, and how Google actually picked up one of my articles, and share it with their 3M+ audience inside of the Google+ social layer.

So to answer the question of whether social networks are search engines; yes, and I hope that the above will help you better search, and be found inside of each social network.


On the 13th April I will be holding a BRAND NEW and EXCLUSIVE webinar on Social Media, and creating images that drive engagement, traffic and sales.


Click Here to Sign up!

Source : business2community.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Think you're a Facebook pro? Think again. Sure, Facey-B might have dominated the past decade of your online activity, but there's a good chance you're still not getting the most out the world's biggest social network. So set your ego aside and listen up, it's lesson time.

Believe it or not, Facebook's no longer just that friendly little blue website you post drunken photos to. Squillions of development hours have been put into this thing, filling it with all manner of features you might not be aware of, including this lot.


Where would we be without our trusted friends, the "sexy aubergine" or "jolly poop"? Sometimes words just won't cut it, but searching for the exact emoji you want can be a pain. The category menus for emoji are far from intuitive, each contains such a mass of symbols that confusion often ensues.

Forget scanning fruitlessly; entering text shortcuts will insert the relevant emoji into your message when it's sent. For instance, typing :poop: will add the poop emoji. Unfortunately not all emoji get shortcuts, but the most popular ones are included.

Shark (^^^)

Middle Finger [[midfing]]

Not Bad [[notbaad]]

Horny 3:)


Facebook unfollow

When unfriending someone on Facebook classes as workplace bullying, we're all in trouble. You can cut people out without all the drama though. Simply unfollow them instead of unfriending them. This completely stops all of their nonsense from appearing on your wall, while still offering you full Facebook stalking rights to their accounts when the mood takes.

To do this, hit the 'Following' button on the pages of your Facebook foes. You'll see options to unfollow them as well as 'See First'. But that's for people who you want right at the top of your newsfeed, not those who make you want to put all your Facebook-connected devices in a tub of acid. Tap the unfollow option, stat.


If you haven't heard about this already, what rock have you been living under? Seriously, it's Facebook's worst kept secret and it's an addictive time-sap of a game. Scurried away within Facebook Messenger, the basketball-based plaything lets you challenge your chums to shoot some hoops directly within the chat window.

It's not something you're likely to stumble across either. To play, you need to send your friend a basketball emoji then click on the sports-themed pictogram. This will launch the game over your chat, with both players' high scores being logged in the feed.


Facebook Messenger hidden inbox

We all know how to find Facebook's message inbox - heck, they put little red numbers over it every time you get a message - but did you know there's a second, secret message inbox? No? Didn't think so. This is the stomping ground of all the messages you're sent from people not inside your Facebook friends group.

There are probably far more messages than you're expecting, you just need to know where to look for it - it's secret, not signposted after all. To get there, open the Facebook Messenger app and click Settings >> People >> Message Requests >> See Filtered Requests and enjoy a list of four -year-old messages you lucky thing.


Facebook generic

Facebook's original favourite feature - poking - still lives, really. Who knew, right? The social media equivalent of an office sexual harassment nightmare might not be the front-and-centre feature it once was, but it's still there if you know where to look.

That place isn't something you're likely to stumble across though. On a friend's profile page, click the "…" next to the 'Message' tab that sits over their cover photo. This will launch a drop-down menu that includes, amongst other things, the ability to have a good ol' poke. It's Facebook circa 2007 and we love it.


Facebook tips and tricks

There's a point that comes in all of our lives: the day you realise your Facebook feed is full of inspirational quotes posted by people you wouldn't trust for directions to the nearest newsagent's. That and sponsored links. When that day arrives, it's time for a refresh.

One way to give Facebook's feed algorithms a kick up the arse is to start labelling your Facebook contacts as 'close friends' and 'acquaintances'. All the updates from your close friends will appear on your news feed, diluting the drivel your 'acquaintances' post. How? Well, in the 'Friends' tab you'll see a drop-down box next to each of your mates' entries. In this you can label them with these two all-important tags. Doing so will up the quality of your news feed dramatically.


Facebook Notifications

Facebook has become the best way to keep track of people's birthdays. However, it can get a bit much. When 90% of your smartphone alerts are Facebook's birthday reminders, or Domino's telling you they've a new offer, things need to change. It's no way to live.

You can switch off birthday notifications to your phone altogether though. If you go Settings >> Notifications >> Mobile, you can easily ditch the celebratory reminders. Huzzah, now we can go back to forgetting our best friend's special day, just as nature intended.


Facebook tips and tricks

"PLEASE HELP, I'M STUCK IN A RAVINE, NEED ASSISTANCE #FML." A Facebook update like this could save your life. Maybe. And you could make it using the text function on your phone. That's right, you can text Facebook like it's 999.

There's a dedicated feature for this called Facebook Texts. All you need to do is link a phone to your account, which we imagine most of you have done by now, then send a message reading "F" to 32665. This will set you up, then you just text that number again with your status update. There's actually a whole bunch of other things you can do from your mobile too, like get texts every time a certain friend posts something - creepy.


Facebook app 3D Touch update

Find yourself living in constant fear of hackers stealing arty photos of your dinner? You can actually download your entire Facebook history, to savour every last drunken photo, over-sharing post and your 4,387 selfies for all eternity.


Why? Why not? We warn you, though, this could end up being a pretty big download if you're a real Facebook victim. It includes pictures and other media as well as text-based posts. To back it all up, go to Settings and click to "download a copy of your Facebook data" at the bottom of the page.



Horror films have nothing on the fear of flogging your old phone on eBay, then sending it off still hooked up to your email and Facebook - arrrgh. You don't necessarily have to start changing your passwords right away though. Facebook lets you see every phone and browser that has been, or that is, accessing your Facebook account, and then put a stop to them with a click.

To get to this screen, use the web interface and tap the drop-down menu at the top-right of the display. Select Settings >> Security >> Where You're Logged In. Here you'll be able to see all your log-ins over the last few months. Safe again, phew.


Facebook tips and tricks

Whether you see auto-play videos as the scourge of the internet or just a quicker way to mainline funny cat clips says a lot about the kind of digital beast you are. To hate them is the classic old-school approach. And while Facebook embraces them as standard these days, you can turn them off.

On your browser you'll find it right down at the bottom of the Settings menu. Click the Videos tab, which is home to the Auto-play switcher. Job done, you've just saved your data plan a serious kicking.


Facebook Pirate

Avast me 'arties, Facebook may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, but it still knows how to have fun, honest. An example of classic Facey-B japes is the ability to change your language to 'pirate', turning the social network into 'Ye Olde Facebook' and 'posts' to 'anchors'.

Fancy trying it out? Go Settings >> Language and switch out English for the mother tongue of the high seas. Don't feel particularly piratey? There are dozens of languages to choose from including the Star Wars-sounding but utterly real Basa Jawa (the language of Java, if you're wondering) or Upside Down English.


Internet thief

Facebook account hacking is pretty common: you've probably seen someone appear to go a bit loopy in your Facebook tenure, only to find out their account was hacked - it wasn't them 'Liking' links to smutty websites, honest. Sure, there's no way to make you completely immune to hacking short of nuking your Facebook account, but you can nip it in the bud pretty quickly.


Login Alerts will drop you a notification whenever your Facebook account is accessed from a new device or browser. By going Settings >> Security, you can choose to receive an email, notification or both upon one of these new login attempts. Neat.


Instagram generic

Every social media pro seems to live on about a half-dozen social networks at once, hoovering up followers and friends like Morgan Freeman sauntering down a high street, flinging fivers with every step. You don't need to spend all day hooked to your computer to get this effect, though.

The trick is to link your other social networks to Facebook so that they automatically post to it, saving you the effort. This doesn't happen over at Facebook itself, but directly at places like Twitter and Instagram, the two most likely candidates for a Facebook hook-up.


Facebook Privacy

You're going to die. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but it's true. We're so certain, we'd bet on it. But, hey, we all are. Facebook might not, though, so if you want to make sure your account isn't going to fall into the wrong hands when the inevitable comes along, you can bequeath your account to someone trustworthy. Not that git who switched your language to Pirate.

How? Well, what you need to do is nominate a 'Legacy Contact', someone who gets control over your account when Facebook is advised of your passing. You'll find this in the 'Security' part of both the Facebook web interface and mobile app.


Source : http://www.digitalspy.com/tech/internet/feature/a822986/secret-facebook-features-tips-tricks/

Categorized in Social

In the course of our day-to-day lives, we produce vast amounts of data. Whether gathered through online communications platforms, tracking devices, or other sources, these data reveal information about our behavior, decisions, and preferences. Researchers can ultimately use the data to improve systems across a variety of domains. In the process, there are great challenges and opportunities in the work of understanding the flow of ideas through groups, determining which incentives are effective, measuring network dynamics, and managing the inherent issues of privacy.

MIT's Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), which aims to advance research at the intersection of engineering and social science, blends multi-disciplinary expertise in systems theory, economics, political science, algorithmic and computational game theory, and network science. Research merging social science with data processing and analysis examines interactions and dynamics over large networks of interconnected individuals — aiming to understand how ideas evolve over networks, quantify the influence of individuals in the networks, and make better predictions.

Understanding and improving the flow of ideas

At the heart of efforts to unravel some of the complexities and implications of social networks is “connection science,” which brings together application and theory. “Connection science is an attempt to actually connect between data, real-world situations, and theory,” says Alex “Sandy” Pentland, the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT and director of the Human Dynamics Laboratory.

“Out of this, comes the notion of the ‘living lab’; rather than having something happen and we record data and only then try to fit theories to it, we’re looking at something that is ongoing, living,” says Pentland. “We can interact with it to understand it better.”

One particular initiative of Pentland and his team looks at how ideas flow in organizations and communities. Pentland and colleagues have been able to identify certain communication patterns that indicate effective collaborations — providing insights into the seemingly ineffable “chemistry” of high-performing groups, companies, and communities. They designed electronic badges and software for mobile phones that reveal characteristics about participants’ interactions with each other. Although the badges and phones don’t measure the content of conversations, they do measure the communications in terms of patterns — such as who is talking to whom and how much people are speaking. After the researchers analyze the data, they can intervene with feedback and incentives — and then determine whether this leads to better ideas and better decisions.

In addition, the researchers are now applying these approaches toward improving education — both in-person and distance learning — determining how to create the most effective interactions. For more information see connection.mit.edu.

Using social data to make predictions and decisions

Devavrat Shah, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, develops statistical inference algorithms guided by behavioral models from social science to extract meaningful information from social data.

“Social data is the data that we all generate,” says Shah, “as a biproduct of things we do.”

Social data can be generated through purchases, reviews, mobile phone traces, censuses, tweets, posts, and interactions on social marketplaces. These data contain a wealth of information that can be utilized for better social living such as social recommendations, informed policy making, efficient business operations, and uplifting societies by, for example, mobilizing untapped labor forces through crowdsourced platforms.

“We have a unique opportunity where as an engineer and social scientist, we can make a huge impact in shaping the future of our society,” Shah says.

In order to realize this opportunity, we need to address the challenge of how to process social data at scale to extract meaningful, accurate information. Shah has been using mathematical models coming from social sciences to develop computationally efficient inference algorithms. For example, to predict trends in Twitter accurately, he and colleagues utilized non-parametric statistical methods along with a classical model for information diffusion in social networks. The resulting algorithm predicted, with 95 percent accuracy, which topics would be trending an average of an hour and a half in advance, and, at times, four or five hours in advance. Similar non-parametric approach, when married with different behavioral model, leads to efficient prediction algorithm for price of Bitcoin. This resulted in a profitable trading strategy. Using a statistical model — suggested by practitioners Dawid and Skene in 1979 — Shah and colleagues developed algorithms based on graphical models to design economically efficient low-cost crowdsourcing system. The resulting algorithm is utilized in peer-grading platforms for online education and various citizen science projects.

“Understanding human choice is foundational,” Shah says. “It is at the core of our ability to predict the consumer demand, the foundational concept of macroeconomics. In a democratic society, it determines the way we govern. And in modern times, it is what determines how we receive online recommendations and advertisements.”

Shah and colleagues have developed computationally efficient statistical methods for learning the “discrete choice model” from sparse data. This collection of works have resulted into novel ranking (or election) algorithm based on comparison data, recommendation systems and efficient decision-making for business operations. This work is an excellent example, where behavioral models from social science inspired new development in statistical inference. Shah co-founded Celect, which has been commercializing research of Shah and colleagues.

Applications to policy in the developing world

These approaches are also implemented to understand how well policies and programs in developing countries are performing — and how they can be improved. Esther Duflo, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development in the Department of Economics, and colleagues in the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) use different types of randomized-control trials to gather data to help determine to what extent certain social policies are achieving their objectives.

“In our work, we are interested in causal effects of a policy or intervention, or sometimes someone’s characteristics, for example their education, on an outcome or a series of outcomes,” says Duflo. “I’m never trying to look at ‘What is the entire model of someone’s behavior?’ I’m always interested in looking at ‘What is the effect of a particular cause that is, in principle, manipulatable or changeable?’”

Duflo and colleagues evaluate a wide variety of different programs and policies aimed at reducing poverty, including microfinance initiatives — trying to determine whether there are data to indicate they are beneficial, and also determine whether there are hindrances in the programs’ efficacy. Participation in a microfinance program may be highly variable, and might depend on different dynamics and interactions within networks, or communities, of people. Duflo and her team developed a model of “word-of-mouth diffusion” and then applied it to data on social networks and participation in a newly available microfinance loan program in 43 Indian villages. The model allowed researchers to distinguish information passing among neighbors from direct influence of neighbors’ participation decisions, as well as information passing by participants versus nonparticipants. The model estimates suggest that participants are seven times as likely to pass information compared to informed nonparticipants, but information passed by nonparticipants still accounts for roughly one-third of eventual participation.

In addition to understanding how well a socio-economic program or policy is working — or not working — and why, data can also be used to understand whether a program can be successfully replicated in other areas of the world. J-PAL is able to evaluate the same program, applied in different areas, at the same time. For example, a comprehensive program designed for Bangladesh was also evaluated in six more countries. The effects were mostly positive, in varying degrees, across the entire the population in the study.

Understanding and predicting sociopolitical change

Complex questions related to political change, cultural dynamics, and societal transformation require an innovative new set of theory, modeling, field experiments, and algorithms. Understanding and predicting sociopolitical change requires a new set of tools and a multidisciplinary analytical framework.

The Department of Defense Multi-Investigator University Research Initiative (MURI) project brings together a team of researchers to address this challenge. This major collaboration involves a number IDSS principal investigators, including: Munther Dahleh, Daron Acemoglu, Fotini Christia, Munther Dahleh, Ali Jadbabaie, and Asuman Ozdaglar. They have developed a framework to study collective action and collective decisions, including how local interactions among individuals and groups with different information, levels of prominence, and preferences results in the spread of information and actions. By developing theories of cascade and contagion in conjunction with field surveys and experiments, IDSS PIs are investigating social and political changes in societies (such as Arab Spring events), using theories and a wide range of datasets ranging from online social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to data from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen.

For example, as part of this project, researchers analyzed three years’ worth of cellphone call metadata from Yemen — January 2010 to October 2012 — to determine the effect of events such as drone strikes and protests on call patterns. The data also provide valuable insights into Yemeni culture and day-to-day life. For example, the research has provided clues to effect of drone strikes on movement patterns and social ties and have opened up a window to the study of the effect of such shocks on how people communicate and how news of such events spreads. In other parts of this project, the PIs have investigated issues related to collective decision making and collective action, specifically, questions about how individuals make decisions by combining individual observations and opinions of others and how social cascades occur.

“This project is really an example of what IDSS is all about: It involves data, systems, and societal elements,” says Ali Jadbabaie, associate director of IDSS. “It brings together political scientists, economists, systems theorists, data scientists, and computer scientists to address important societal questions.”

Author : Stefanie Koperniak


Categorized in Social

Humans are social creatures. So it should come as no surprise that there are almost as many social networks on Tor as there are on the clearnet.

Of course, it depends on what you consider a “social network,” but there are both Facebook-like networks (where you add friends, join groups, etc.), as well as numerous forums (like The HUB, or any of the marketplace forums).

Don’t Judge A Blackbook by its Cove

Credit: El Cafe Paranormal

Blackbook was the first social network I joined when I started to use Tor. Does it look familiar at all? Yeah, it was, more or less, the Facebook of Tor, and used to be located at http://blkbook3fxhcsn3u.onion.

As with Facebook, you would join, create a profile, upload pictures, describe a little bit about yourself, and try to make friends. Here’s the catch: Blackbook was completely uncensored. Such things as nudity, white supremacist messages, self-harm photos, and the like were not off-limits in any way. I expected all this, so I wasn’t very shocked.

Speaking of which, you know how everyone uses their real names on Facebook? Blackbook was the exact opposite. Just about everyone, including me, used pseudonyms (in fact, mine was computer-generated). I also used a fake location, age, and just about everything else.

As you might expect, Blackbook had quite a few “groups” (much like those on Facebook) related to things you might find on Tor: drugs, hacking, carding, cryptography, etc. However, I learned some lessons the hard way; I went into this with my usual sardonic humor, and it came back to bite me in the ass (just a little).

Like Facebook, people would post statuses describing how they were feeling that day, etc. One time I posted a status along the lines of, “Hey everybody! I’m an escaped serial killer with 20 victims! Can I seek shelter here?” The crazy thing was, some people took it seriously. Later, someone sent me a message and said, “Dude, never joke around like that on the dark web. People tend to take stuff at face value.”


As with many of the darknet markets, Blackbook eventually shut down. I wasn’t that disappointed, but I noticed that a number of its former members migrated to other social networks. If you click on its former link, you’re greeted with this message:

In case that’s hard to read, it says “Welcome to the old home of Blackbook. We are working ons [sic] a new more secure website. Check out the 2017 Hidden Wiki draft. [address removed]. Thank you and we hope to be back soon.”

I’m curious as to what the new site will be like, if it goes up. That remains to be seen.

Galaxy and Galaxy2

Those of you who’ve used Tor for several years may remember the original Galaxy social network, an Elgg-based site created in 2013. It was one of the more popular social networks in its time.


That site, too, has since shut down, but a user named Lameth (a friend of the Galaxy creator) designed a successor called Galaxy2 (that has a similar format). I’ve actually become a member of the latter, though I haven’t been active in awhile.

As on Blackbook, you create a username, profile, add pics, describe yourself…all the usual stuff you would do on a social network. Also, like Blackbook, members generally use pseudonyms, and while some may use real photos of themselves, they’re in the minority. More often, the profile photos represent aspects of the user’s personality. For example, if someone’s a hacker, they might use a photo that represents coding.

Galaxy2, like its predecessor, has a feature called The Wire, in which you might hear things like, “All in the game, yo…all in the game.” Wait…wrong Wire. Ahem…actually, The Wire on Galaxy2 is a microblogging platform, similar to Twitter or Tumblr. As on those two, people generally write short snippets, or share photos and videos through it.

I do recall that one of the people I “met” on Galaxy2 was Harry71, of “Harry71’s Onion Spider” fame – this isn’t to say that we got to know one another on a personal level. I also came across several others who had popular sites in Onionland.

The main difference between the Galaxy sites and Blackbook, as I see it, is that it seems to be maintained quite well, and it has a very loyal and dedicated community that comes with time. Also, as stated in the rules above, “public commercial trade” is not allowed, which helps Galaxy2 avoid being eyed by law enforcement.

While some members may do so in private messages, commercial goods and services aren’t sold out in the open.

Overall, my experience on Galaxy2 has been positive, though I’ve more or less stayed under the radar for quite some time.

The Book of Tor

Beyond the two above, there have been several social networks using the name “TorBook,” which, like Blackbook, have intended to be the Facebook of Tor. Also, like Blackbook, TorBook (and its successors) have a similar layout and feel to Facebook, with a news feed, photo sharing, friend requests, etc.

The most recent version of TorBook, TorBook3, is up and running at j2k5m6rtorbook3w.onion. However, I have limited experience with this one, and based on the fact that the first two TorBooks have shut down, it’s possible that this one will as well.

Pros vs. Cons…

While the idea of using social media on Tor with a fake identity might be fun, it carries its fair share of risks.

Like certain markets and forums on Tor, most of the social networks require you to enable Javascript in your browser – otherwise the sites won’t function. Unfortunately, once you start whitelisting sites in Tor, this can create a distinct browser fingerprint, which is one of the things Tor was designed to reduce as much as possible.

Also, once you start running scripts, you run the risk of making yourself vulnerable to Java/Javascript exploits (to name a few) that would normally be blocked by the NoScript extension. If the point of Tor is anonymity, then becoming involved in Facebook-ish social networks kind of defeats the purpose.

The other possible risk is that these social networks (like some of the financial services) can be scams, in and of themselves. How, you ask?

Let’s take Blackbook as an example. Like many of the markets such as AlphaBay and Dream Market, Blackbook advertised services such as carding and drug sales. Regrettably, there was no reliable way to know what was a scam and what wasn’t, and my tendency was to just assume that any sort of paid service was a scam (which was why I didn’t buy anything on these sites).

While I may not have been scammed, I think it’s fair to assume that at least a few others did at some point.

That being said, risky or not, choosing to use these social networks is up to you. If you’re willing to take the risk, then go ahead.

Just keep in mind: with regard to the dark web, if it sounds too good to be true, it definitely is.

Author:  CIPHAS

Source:  https://www.deepdotweb.com/2016/12/23/famously-anonymous-tor-social-networks

Categorized in Social


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