Colloquium: Paul N. Bennett (Microsoft Research) -- Events and Controversies: Influences of a Shocking News Event on Information Seeking


Title: Events and Controversies: Influences of a Shocking News Event on Information Seeking

Speaker: Paul N. Bennett (Microsoft Research)

Abstract: It has been suggested that online search and retrieval contributes to the intellectual isolation of users within their preexisting ideologies, where people?s prior views are strengthened and alternative viewpoints are infrequently encountered. This so-called "filter bubble" phenomenon has been called out as especially detrimental when it comes to dialog among people on controversial, emotionally charged topics, such as the labeling of genetically modified food, the right to bear arms, the death penalty, and online privacy. We seek to identify and study information-seeking behavior and access to alternative versus reinforcing viewpoints following shocking, emotional, and large-scale news events. We choose for a case study to analyze search and browsing on gun control/rights, a strongly polarizing topic for both citizens and leaders of the United States. We study the period of time preceding and following a mass shooting to understand how its occurrence, follow-on discussions, and debate may have been linked to changes in the patterns of searching and browsing. We employ information-theoretic measures to quantify the diversity of Web domains of interest to users and understand the browsing patterns of users. We use these measures to characterize the influence of news events on these web search and browsing patterns.

This is joint work with Danai Koutra and Eric Horvitz

Speaker Bio:

Paul Bennett is a Senior Researcher in the Context, Learning & User Experience for Search (CLUES) group at Microsoft Research where he focuses on the development, improvement, and analysis of machine learning and data mining methods as components of real-world, large-scale adaptive systems. His research has advanced techniques for ensemble methods and the combination of information sources, calibration, consensus methods for noisy supervision labels, active learning and evaluation, supervised classification (with an emphasis on hierarchical classification) and ranking with applications to information retrieval, crowdsourcing, behavioral modeling and analysis, and personalization. His recent work has been recognized with a SIGIR 2012 Best Paper Honorable Mention and a SIGIR 2013 Best Student Paper award. He completed his dissertation on combining text classifiers using reliability indicators in 2006 at Carnegie Mellon where he was advised by Profs. Jaime Carbonell and John Lafferty.

<a href="http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/pauben/">http://research.m...


7:15am to 8:30am


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