Online Pre-Conference Events

TTO 2022 is excited to announce an additional day of online pre-conference events to be held on October 12th, 2022. These events will include a selection of online talks, “ask me anythings”, workshops, and panels.

workshops

09:15 am – 10:00 am (EST)

Reveddit.com: Improving online discourse with transparent moderation
Rob Hawkins (Founder of Reveddit.com)

Several online forums, including Facebook and Reddit, show users their removed content as if it is not removed. This workshop will seek to answer questions such as: What happens when content is removed without notifying the user? What happens when you show users their secretly removed content? How many people are impacted by shadow moderation? Rob Hawkins reviews the implications of this style of moderation using real-world examples.

10:00 – 11:30 am (EST)

Tracking Exposed: a tool for TikTok algorithmic audits and shadow-ban/shadow-promotion detection.
Salvatore Romano (Head of Research, Tracking Exposed)

Description:

The workshop will show the participants how to collect and analyze data to investigate TikTok’s algorithm.

The user experience is almost exclusively centered around the content surfaced by the For You feed, which greatly influences this algorithm in shaping our culture and informational environment. During the first five years of its life, the platform has raised several concerns involving censorship, misinformation, data privacy, and interferences with political elections. Recently, Tracking Exposed uncovered how TikTok has “shadow-promoted” content to users in Russia – content that’s supposed to be banned. “Shadow-promotion” is a new term we have coined to describe this previously unobserved phenomenon of algorithmic promotion of content that is supposedly banned on a platform. At the same time, there have been accusations of TikTok using its algorithm to shadow-ban black people, plus-size people, and pro-LGBTQ+ messages hiding posts from the ForYouPage. During the workshop, we will collect data and then create some visualization thanks to our tool-chain for data analysts (based on Gephi and Python Notebook) or with a more straightforward tool such as Excel.

The TikTok Tracking Exposed is a free (and open) software to monitor TikTok’s recommendation algorithm behavior and personalization patterns. It enables researchers and journalists to investigate which content is promoted or demoted on the platform, including content regarding politically sensitive issues. With the browser extension installed, every TikTok video watched from that browser would be saved on a personal page as long as the suggested videos. Later, the investigator can retrieve the evidence in CSV format by using the public API to compare two different profiles, as shown in this short tutorial.

TikTok Tracking Exposed is under the umbrella project https://tracking.exposed

TALKS / Ask me Anythings

11:30 am – 12:15 pm (EST)

Sophia Smith Galer (Senior News Report, Vice World News)

What do you get when medical manufacturers still call speculums “virgin size”; when YouTube pickup artists try to give tips on how to turn a girl’s “no” into a “yes”; when Amazon classes dilators that help women fix psychosexual disorders as sex toys?

What do you get when campaign groups spreading inaccurate information about the body are allowed to speak at schools – or when fixers for hymen repair doctors are allowed to get hundreds of thousands of YouTube and TikTok followers?

You get a sex misinformation crisis.

Sophia Smith Galer explores some of the research she gathered for her book Losing It: Sex Education for the 21st Century that not only charts a worldwide sex misinformation crisis but – crucially – looks at the problem solvers and solutions that could fix it, and the obstacles in their way; internet censorship, out of control engagement optimisation tools and lingering taboo around the horizontal tango.

Recorded Presentations and Live Q&A

12:15 pm – 1:45 PM (EST)

Ann Jabro

Stephanie McVicker

Louise Holly Iknoor

Andrea Hrckova

Vinay Setty

Netha Hussain

Tuğrulcan Elmas

Live Product Demos

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm (EST)

Title: Tracking Propaganda Landscapes Across Social Media with SimPPL
Swapneel Mehta, Ph.D. candidate at NYU Data Science

SimPPL is a platform that uses Probabilistic AI to advance network science. With SimPPL, we operationalize cutting-edge simulation intelligence research into a tool for the public to understand the harms of online disinformation. In this talk, I will provide a case study of how we use the platform to track propaganda spread by a state-backed media outlet on Twitter, a popular microblogging social network. We provide a news dataset to our software which can detect instances of coordinated inauthentic behaviour through a detailed analysis of public traces of activity around the diffusion of these articles online. The insights from this platform provide a transparent look into how propaganda is disseminated online. These are necessary to design adequate safeguards against the subsequent propagation of disinformation.

Panels

3:00 – 4:00 pm (EST)

The neglected challenges of gender-affirming care misinformation and its intersection with transphobia and health inequalities
led by Jenna Sherman (Digital Health Lab Program Manager, Meedan)

Women, trans, and nonbinary people experience the impacts of health misinformation in unique and disproportionate ways. With less access to quality healthcare, these individuals often turn to harmful online information ecosystems, which can lead to high risk health outcomes.

For example, people seeking out information online about infant feeding may be led to create homemade baby formula that can stunt growth and development of their children. People seeking out information online about coping with chest dysphoria may be led to unsafely bind which can cause permanent damage to chest tissue, lungs, and ribs. And people seeking out information about abortion access may be led to use herbs that can cause problems from seizure to septic shock.

While social media platforms are still working on building out their health misinformation policies, the stakes for leaving up harmful content online is growing more urgent as more people turn to the internet for answers to gendered health questions.

In this panel, experts in medicine, health misinformation, online ecosystems, and education speak to the unique challenges of unregulated gendered health misinformation online, its impacts, and potential solutions.