WiDS Regensburg: Mining Social Networks to Learn about Rumors, Hate Speech, Bias and Polarization


Online social networks are a rich resource of unedited user-generated multimedia content. Buried within their day-to-day chatter, we can find breaking news, opinions and valuable insight into human behaviour, including the articulation of emerging social movements. Nevertheless, in recent years social platforms have become fertile ground for diverse information disorders and hate speech expressions. This situation poses an important challenge to the extraction of useful and trustworthy information from social media. In this talk I provide an overview of existing work in the area of social media information credibility, starting with our research in 2011 on rumor propagation during the massive earthquake in Chile in 2010. I discuss, as well, the complex problem of automatic hate speech detection in online social networks. In particular, how our review of the existing literature in the area shows important experimental errors and dataset biases that produce an overestimation of current state-of-the-art techniques. Specifically, these issues become evident at the moment of attempting to apply these models to more diverse scenarios or to transfer this knowledge to languages other than English. As a particular way of dealing with the need to extract reliable information from online social media, I talk about two applications, Twically and Galean. These applications harvest collective signals created from social media text to provide a broad view of natural disasters and real-world news, respectively

WiDS Regensburg is an independent event organized by the Regensburg AIR Initiative to coincide with the annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide conference organized by Stanford University and an estimated 150+ locations worldwide, which features outstanding women doing outstanding work in the field of data science. All genders are invited to attend all WiDS Worldwide conference events.

The goal of this conference is to showcase the exciting work that is conducted by women in the field of data science. Accomplished specialists from academia and industry with a focus on the Regensburg area will give talks on relevant topics.


Dr. Barbara Poblete is an Associate Professor at the Computer Science Department of the Universidad de Chile. She is also a Researcher at the Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data (IMFD Chile), where she co-leads the “Fake News and Misinformation” multidisciplinary research group. Formerly, she was a researcher at Yahoo! Labs. Her research areas are Social Network Analysis, Web Data

Mining, Crisis Informatics and Applied Machine Learning. Her influential work on the topic of “Information Credibility in Twitter” (2010-2013), was the first addressing misinformation in social media and has been widely cited, and has appeared in SciAM, WSJ, Slate, The Huffington Post, BBC News and NPR, among others. Recently she received a Google Latin America Research Award and two “Social Media and Democracy Research Grants (as co-investigator) from SSRR to study the effects of social media on elections. She holds 7 US Patents and has over 80 peer-reviewed articles. Currently (and according to Google Scholar), she is the most cited female Computer Scientist in Chile and among the top cited in Latin America. She is also co-founder of ChileWiC, the first and now main event in Chile that gathers women in CS and Technology, which is a yearly event running for 7-years.


Wednesday, April 14, 15.00 CET (9.00 am Santiago de Chile)

Tues, Apr 13, 2021 1:00 PM – Wed, Apr 14, 2021 7:00 PM CEST


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