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Measuring Manipulation in Audiences Targeted by Coordinated Social Media Dissemination Tactics

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-19-C-0359
Agency Tracking Number: N19A-024-0255
Amount: $140,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N19A-T024
Solicitation Number: 19.A
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-06-03
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-12-09
Small Business Information
15400 Calhoun Drive Suite 190
Rockville, MD 20855
United States
DUNS: 161911532
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Dr. Chris Kurcz Dr. Chris Kurcz
 Lead Data Scientist
 (301) 294-4620
Business Contact
 Mark James
Phone: (301) 294-5200
Research Institution
 University of Arkansas at Little Rock
 Dr. Nitin Agarwal Dr. Nitin Agarwal
Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology 2801 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72204
United States

 (501) 683-7155
 Nonprofit College or University

The information environment has become a new battlefield for adversaries of the United States and its allies. Coordinated campaigns have been waged to radicalize, incite division, inflame, influence elections and public opinion on a variety of issues. These campaigns have weaponized social media by forming networks of synthetic accounts (botnets) which spread mis/disinformation, polarize groups and spread malicious content. The goal of this research is to analyze, characterize and quantify manipulation of audiences in social media using emotion based tactics. The research is at the intersection of natural language processing techniques to detect nuanced emotions in social media posts, detecting bot networks and understanding their intent and estimating the emotional response to posts intended to manipulate. Ultimately, our goal is to understand if and how audiences are manipulated by coordinated dissemination of content intended to incite.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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