Normative and Ethical Questions in Communications

I’ve got a deep and longstanding interest in ethical questions in technology, and am writing a book for Routledge on what justice demands of communication technologies. 

I have a explored the role of Political Theory and Normative analysis (how we answer questions about what we ought to be doing) in the Communications field in two recent  paper on “Normative Analysis in the Communications Field” and on “Public communication for the common good?

Automating Visual Social Media Analysis

I am collaborating with Fabrizio Poltronieri on a project that develops a POC to automate the analysis of visual social media content, with the aim of turning this into a MVP. We work with a set of around 6 million social media images shared on Twitter, and six datasets of labelled images to train Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) for image classification. Furthermore, we also utilise cloud-based computer-vision toolkits (e.g. Google Vision, Microsoft Azure) to analyse social media images. One interesting tidbit is that around 9% of static images shared on Twitter include nudity or are explicitly pornographic.

Fabrizio presented some of our work at the HIIG Workshop on “The turn to artificial intelligence in governing communication online

We will also be organising a workshop “A primer in automating visual social media analysis with deep learning techniques” as well as presenting a paper  “Visual social media, fakery and AI: An experiment at the intersection of computer art and social science, using deep learning to generate and identify ‘fake
imagery'” at the AoIR conference in Montreal this October.

Can Social Media Facilitate a European Public Sphere?

Figure 3

Together with Stefan Bauchowitz, working multiple samples of Tweets posted around European events, we examine the possibility of an online European Public sphere. The image to the left, for example, visualises this European twittersphere.

A paper based on this work has appeared as Can social media facilitate a European public sphere? Transnational communication and the Europeanization of Twitter during the Eurozone crisis iSocial Media + Society. A chapter based on our work appeared as #ThisIsACoup: The Emergence of an Anti-Austerity Hashtag across Europe’s Twittersphere in the anthology The Media and Austerity: Comparative Perspectives,

Some other preliminary results of this work have been published here: A European Twitter sphere? What tweets on the Greek bailout say about how Europeans interact online; and here: How visible are Britain’s EU renegotiation demands across Europe’s twitterspheres?

Twitter during the Brexit Campaign and the 2017 UK General Election

Also with Stefan Bauchowitz we have been working with multiple sets of tweets (including over 17 million tweets collected through the streaming API) from the Brexit referendum, and the 2017 UK General Election to examine the way each campaign shaped up on social media.

Some preliminary results were presented at the 2017 AoIR conference (conference paper here), were published as a chapter in the book Brexit, Trump, and the Media (chapter here), and as multiple blog posts:
How the GE2017 campaign is shaping up on Twitter

How Leave won Twitter: an analysis of 7.5m Brexit-related tweets