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Faculty Candidate Seminar

Empowering Users on Social Media for Better Content Credibility

Farnaz JahanbakshPh.D. CandidateMIT
Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory, Suite 2000Map

Zoom link for remote participants, passcode:  274097


Abstract: As misinformation raged on online social spaces and threatened people’s lives, livelihood, and even democracy, platforms rose as the authority on misinformation detection and moderation. However, concerns about freedom of speech and listening rights and the autonomy of individuals in deciding what content to consume, as well as the misalignment in incentives between the users and the platforms should give us pause in accepting this centralized moderation as the optimal solution. In this talk, I will present an alternative approach to misinformation moderation-a democratized one that empowers every user to have a say in what content they consider misinforming and what they want to do with such content. I will explore the following questions: 1) how to alter the design of social media platforms to enable users to have a say in what is misinformation, 2) how this user empowerment changes the accuracy of shared content, 3) how to design tools that enable this user empowerment on the web and work on all platforms without needing support from them, 4) how to leverage AI not to impose “the truth” on users, but to help amplify users’ assessments, and 5) how to enable users beyond labeling content accuracy, and empower them to modify and “fix” online content.
Bio: Farnaz Jahanbakhsh is a PhD student at MIT CSAIL advised by David Karger. Her research in in the field of Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing and is aimed at re-imagining the design of social media and more broadly the web to achieve greater end-user empowerment. Her work has been published in premier venues including ACM CHI and CSCW. Before coming to MIT, she completed her Master’s in CS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and prior to that, her Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering at Sharif University of Technology in Iran.


Cindy Estell

Student Host

Jane Im

Faculty Host

Nikola Banovic