Maurizio Tesconi

Maurizio Tesconi
Italian National Research Council | CNR · Institute for Informatics and Telematics IIT

Ph.D.

About

123
Publications
49,663
Reads
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3,105
Citations
Citations since 2016
71 Research Items
2713 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
April 2003 - present
Italian National Research Council
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (123)
Preprint
Full-text available
Online social networks are actively involved in the removal of malicious social bots due to their role in the spread of low quality information. However, most of the existing bot detectors are supervised classifiers incapable of capturing the evolving behavior of sophisticated bots. Here we propose MulBot, an unsupervised bot detector based on mult...
Article
Fake accounts are the primary means for misuse and abuse of social media platforms, giving rise to coordinated inauthentic behaviors. Despite ongoing efforts to limit their exploitation, ready-to-use fake accounts can be found for sale on several underground markets. For the present study, we devised an innovative approach to detect accounts for sa...
Article
It has become apparent that human accounts are not the sole actors in the social media scenario. The expanding role of social media in the consumption and diffusion of information has been accompanied by attempts to influence public opinion. Researchers reported several instances where social bots, automated accounts designed to impersonate humans,...
Article
Our study examines the 2019 European elections campaign in the Italian Twittersphere and the online activity of Matteo Salvini, former Italian Interior Minister and leader of the League. We consider the social media contest Vinci Salvini! (“Win Salvini!”) and we demonstrate how gamification, in the form of casual games, can affect participation and...
Article
We explore the effects of coordinated users (i.e., users characterized by an unexpected, suspicious, or exceptional similarity) in information spreading on Twitter by quantifying the efficacy of their tactics in deceiving feed algorithms to maximize information outreach. In particular, we investigate the behavior of coordinated accounts within a la...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the last years there has been a growing attention towards predicting the political orientation of active social media users, being this of great help to study political forecasts, opinion dynamics modeling and users polarization. Existing approaches, mainly targeting Twitter users, rely on content-based analysis or are based on a mixture of cont...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a corresponding infodemic, emphasised by the use of social media as the primary communication channel during lockdowns. This study was aimed at finding the accounts that spread information in Italian on COVID-19, and how such information was propagated in the first Western country to face a lockdown. The presented a...
Article
Full-text available
Coordinated online behaviors are an essential part of information and influence operations, as they allow a more effective disinformation's spread. Most studies on coordinated behaviors involved manual investigations, and the few existing computational approaches make bold assumptions or oversimplify the problem to make it tractable. Here, we propo...
Article
Full-text available
The recent advances in language modeling significantly improved the generative capabilities of deep neural models: in 2019 OpenAI released GPT-2, a pre-trained language model that can autonomously generate coherent, non-trivial and human-like text samples. Since then, ever more powerful text generative models have been developed. Adversaries can ex...
Article
Full-text available
The exponential increase in the availability of large-scale mobility data has fueled the vision of smart cities that will transform our lives. The truth is that we have just scratched the surface of the research challenges that should be tackled in order to make this vision a reality. Consequently, there is an increasing interest among different re...
Article
Full-text available
Well-being is an important value for people’s lives, and it could be considered as an index of societal progress. Researchers have suggested two main approaches for the overall measurement of well-being, the objective and the subjective well-being. Both approaches, as well as their relevant dimensions, have been traditionally captured with surveys....
Article
Online financial content is widespread on social media, especially on Twitter. The possibility to access open, real-time data about stock market information and firms’ public reputation can bring competitive advantages to industry insiders. However, as many studies extensively demonstrated before, manipulative campaigns by social bots do not spare...
Article
Full-text available
Tracking information diffusion is a non-trivial task and it has been widely studied across different domains and platforms. The advent of social media has led to even more challenges, given the higher speed of information propagation and the growing impact of social bots and anomalous accounts. Nevertheless, it is crucial to derive a trustworthy in...
Article
The rise of bots and their influence on social networks is a hot topic that has aroused the interest of many researchers. Despite the efforts to detect social bots, it is still difficult to distinguish them from legitimate users. Here, we propose a simple yet effective semi-supervised method that allows distinguishing between bots and legitimate us...
Chapter
In this work we propose a novel approach to estimate the home location of Twitter users. Given a list of Twitter users, we extract their timelines (up to 3,200) using the Twitter Application Programming Interface (API) service. We use Google Trends to obtain a list of cities in which the nouns of a specific Twitter user are more popular. Then, base...
Article
Full-text available
Background Risk communication is essential for risk management, especially during alarming events, in order to create a balanced risk perception. The tweets follow up can be useful to timely evidence “media storms” or “infodemics” thus suggesting corrective interventions. The spread of Covid-19 has been the occasion to observe the evolution of twee...
Preprint
Full-text available
Coordinated online behaviors are an important part of information and influence operations, as they allow a more effective disinformation's spread. Most studies on coordinated behaviors involved manual investigations and the few existing computational approaches make bold assumptions or oversimplify the problem to make it tractable. Here, we propos...
Preprint
Full-text available
The threat of deepfakes, synthetic, or manipulated media, is becoming increasingly alarming, especially for social media platforms that have already been accused of manipulating public opinion. Even the cheapest text generation techniques (e.g. the search-and-replace method) can deceive humans, as the Net Neutrality scandal proved in 2017. Meanwhil...
Article
Online social networks convey rich information about geospatial facets of reality. However in most cases, geographic information is not explicit and structured, thus preventing its exploitation in real-time applications. We address this limitation by introducing a novel geoparsing and geotagging technique called Geo-Semantic-Parsing (GSP). GSP iden...
Chapter
Full-text available
Despite the existence of several studies on the characteristics and role of social bots in spreading disinformation related to politics, health, science and education, financial social bots remain a largely unexplored topic. We aim to shed light on this issue by investigating the activities of large social botnets in Twitter, involved in discussion...
Article
People involved in mass emergencies increasingly publish information-rich contents in online social networks (OSNs), thus acting as a distributed and resilient network of human sensors. In this work we present HERMES, a system designed to enrich the information spontaneously disclosed by OSN users in the aftermath of disasters. HERMES leverages a m...
Article
Full-text available
The advent of social media changed the way we consume content, favoring a disintermediated access to, and production of information. This scenario has been matter of critical discussion about its impact on society, magnified in the case of the Arab Springs or heavily criticized during Brexit and the 2016 U.S. elections. In this work we explore info...
Article
Full-text available
Cryptocurrencies represent one of the most attractive markets for financial speculation. As a consequence, they have attracted unprecedented attention on social media. Besides genuine discussions and legitimate investment initiatives, several deceptive activities have flourished. In this work, we chart the online cryptocurrency landscape across mul...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cryptocurrencies represent one of the most attractive markets for financial speculation. As a consequence, they have attracted unprecedented attention on social media. Besides genuine discussions and legitimate investment initiatives, several deceptive activities have flourished. In this work, we chart the online cryptocurrency landscape across mul...
Preprint
The massive diffusion of social media fosters disintermediation and changes the way users are informed, the way they process reality, and the way they engage in public debate. The cognitive layer of users and the related social dynamics define the nature and the dimension of informational threats. Users show the tendency to interact with informatio...
Preprint
Full-text available
People involved in mass emergencies increasingly publish information-rich contents in online social networks (OSNs), thus acting as a distributed and resilient network of human sensors. In this work, we present HERMES, a system designed to enrich the information spontaneously disclosed by OSN users in the aftermath of disasters. HERMES leverages a...
Preprint
Full-text available
The advent of social media changed the way we consume content favoring a disintermediated access and production. This scenario has been matter of critical discussion about its impact on society. Magnified in the case of Arab Spring or heavily criticized in the Brexit and 2016 U.S. elections. In this work we explore information consumption on Twitte...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Distance metrics between statistical distributions are widely used as an efficient mean to aggregate/simplify the underlying probabilities, thus enabling high-level analyses. In this paper we investigate the collisions that can arise with such metrics, and a mitigation technique rooted on kernels. In detail, we first show that the existence of coll...
Article
DNA-inspired online behavioral modeling techniques have been proposed and successfully applied to a broad range of tasks. In this paper, we investigate the fundamental laws that drive the occurrence of behavioral similarities among Twitter users, employing a DNA-inspired technique. Our findings are multifold. First, we demonstrate that, despite app...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Within OSNs, many of our supposedly online friends may instead be fake accounts called social bots, part of large groups that purposely re-share targeted content. Here, we study retweeting behaviors on Twitter, with the ultimate goal of detecting retweeting social bots.We collect a dataset of 10M retweets. We design a novel visualization that we le...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this work, we tackled the problem of the automatic classification of the extremist propaganda on Twitter, focusing on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). We built and published several datasets, obtained by mixing 15,684 ISIS propaganda tweets with a variable number of neutral tweets, related to ISIS, and random ones, accounting for im...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
I dati presenti sugli Online Social Networks rappresentano una miniera di informazioni per la Cyber Security e per la Cyber Intelligence, se opportunamente analizzati con tecniche allo stato dell'arte. Da anni il gruppo WAFI-CI porta avanti attività di ricerca all'avanguardia su queste tematiche, ricoprendo anche ruoli di responsabilità in progetti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Within OSNs, many of our supposedly online friends may instead be fake accounts called social bots, part of large groups that purposely re-share targeted content. Here, we study retweeting behaviors on Twitter, with the ultimate goal of detecting retweeting social bots. We collect a dataset of 10M retweets. We design a novel visualization that we l...
Chapter
Full-text available
SoBigData is a Research Infrastructure (RI) aiming to provide an integrated ecosystem for ethic-sensitive scientific discoveries and advanced applications of social data mining. A key milestone of the project focuses on data, methods and results sharing, in order to ensure the reproducibility, review and re-use of scientific works. For this reason,...
Article
Full-text available
Natural disasters, as well as human-made disasters, can have a deep impact on wide geographic areas, and emergency responders can benefit from the early estimation of emergency consequences. This work presents CrisMap, a Big Data crisis mapping system capable of quickly collecting and analyzing social media data. CrisMap extracts potential crisis-r...
Article
Microblogs are increasingly exploited for predicting prices and traded volumes of stocks in financial markets. However, it has been demonstrated that much of the content shared in microblogging platforms is created and publicized by bots and spammers. Yet, the presence (or lack thereof) and the impact of fake stock microblogs has never systematical...
Article
The task of witness detection in social media is crucial for many practical applications, including rumor debunking, emergency management, and public opinion mining. Yet to date, it has been approached in an approximated way. We propose a method for addressing witness detection in a strict and realistic fashion. By employing hybrid crowdsensing ove...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recently, user-generated content in social media opened up new alluring possibilities for understanding the geospatial aspects of many real-world phenomena. Yet, the vast majority of such content lacks explicit, structured geographic information. Here, we describe the design and implementation of a novel approach for associating geographic informat...
Chapter
Full-text available
Recently, user-generated content in social media opened up new alluring possibilities for understanding the geospatial aspects of many real-world phenomena. Yet, the vast majority of such content lacks explicit, structured geographic information. Here, we describe the design and implementation of a novel approach for associating geographic informat...
Article
Full-text available
Microblogs are increasingly exploited for predicting prices and traded volumes of stocks in financial markets. However, it has been demonstrated that much of the content shared in microblogging platforms is created and publicized by bots and spammers. Yet, the presence (or lack thereof) and the impact of fake stock microblogs has never systematical...
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers online news censorship and it concentrates on censorship of identities. Obfuscating identities may occur for disparate reasons, from military to judiciary ones. In the majority of cases, this happens to protect individuals from being identified and persecuted by hostile people. However, being the collaborative web characterised...
Article
Full-text available
Nowadays, social media analysis systems are feeding on user contributed data, either for beneficial purposes, such as emergency management, or for user profiling and mass surveillance. Here, we carry out a discussion about the power and pitfalls of public accessibility to social media-based systems, with specific regards to the emergency management...
Article
Full-text available
Messages posted to social media in the aftermath of a natural disaster have value beyond detecting the event itself. Mining such deliberately dropped digital traces allows a precise situational awareness, to help provide a timely estimate of the disaster’s consequences on the population and infrastructures. Yet, to date, the automatic assessment of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recently, DNA-inspired online behavioral modeling and analysis techniques have been proposed and successfully applied to a broad range of tasks. In this paper, we employ a DNA-inspired technique to investigate the fundamental laws that drive the occurrence of similarities among Twitter users. The achieved results are multifold. First, we demonstrat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Much progress has been made in the field of sentiment analysis in the past years. Researchers relied on textual data for this task, while only recently they have started investigating approaches to predict sentiments from multimedia content. With the increasing amount of data shared on social media, there is also a rapidly growing interest in appro...
Article
Messages posted to social media in the aftermath of a natural disaster are not only useful for detecting the event itself.More importantly, mining such deliberately dropped digital traces allows a precise situational awareness, from which disaster's consequences on population and infrastructures can be timely estimated.Yet, to date, the automatic a...
Chapter
During the last 35 years, data management principles such as physical and logical independence, declarative querying and cost-based optimization have led to profound pervasiveness of relational databases in any kind of organization. More importantly, these technical advances have enabled the first round of business intelligence applications and...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the use of social networks as a scientific tool for gathering medical data from young subjects while promoting healthier habits. Our first hypothesis is that social networks can facilitate epidemiological studies, reducing time and cost. The second question is whether social networks can enable the collection of data from yo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent studies in social media spam and automation provide anecdotal argumentation of the rise of a new generation of spambots, so-called social spambots. Here, for the first time, we extensively study this novel phenomenon on Twitter and we provide quantitative evidence that a paradigm-shift exists in spambot design. First, we measure current Twit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Crowdsensing systems can be either participatory or oppor-tunistic, depending on whether the user intentionally contributes data, or she simply acts as the bearer of a sensing device from which data is transparently collected. In this paper, we propose hybrid crowdsensing, a social media-based paradigm which aims at combining the strengths of both...
Article
Full-text available
Spambot detection in online social networks is a long-lasting challenge involving the study and design of detection techniques capable of efficiently identifying ever-evolving spammers. Recently, a new wave of social spambots has emerged, with advanced human-like characteristics that allow them to go undetected even by current state-of-the-art algo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While favouring communications and easing information sharing, Social Network Sites are also used to launch harmful campaigns against specific groups and individuals. Cyberbullism, incitement to self-harm practices, sexual predation are just some of the severe effects of massive online offensives. Moreover, attacks can be carried out against groups...
Chapter
Full-text available
Nel prosieguo del capitolo si farà particolare riferimento agli accounts contraffatti di tipo Fake, per via della loro elevata incidenza tra i profili social di personaggi politici, Italiani e non, e per via dell’elevato eco mediatico che questo fenomeno ha recentemente suscitato sui media tradizionali. Le analisi riportate in questo capitolo aiuta...
Chapter
Full-text available
In questo capitolo introdurremo le caratteristiche e le peculiarità dei dati social. Ci soffermeremo sulle criticità relative alla raccolta e all’analisi di tali dati, approfondendo alcune metodologie che permettono di utilizzare i dati social per effettuare analisi predittive o comprendere fenomeni di ampio impatto sociale. La discussione sviluppa...