NOTRE public event: Are We Data?

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

11:00 – 15:00

CUT Senate


Are we “data”?

Identity, journalism, democracy in the age of big data

University of Michigan Professor John Cheney-Lippold, and author of the book We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of our Digital Selves, will speak at Cyprus University of Technology about his book and the novel challenge of our age. Academics, journalists, and political scientists will discuss the changes in identity, journalism, politics, and the role of institutions in democratic societies in the age of Big Data.



 11:00 Keynote speech: John Cheney Lippold, Professor, University of Michigan USA

An Introduction to Algorithmic Identity

Today, the ubiquity of digital networked technology is paralleled only by the ubiquity of digital network surveillance. While this extensive surveillance surely facilitates state and corporate invasions of privacy, it also contributes to something more invisible and unseen: the reconceptualization of the world—and ourselves—into algorithmic terms. According to how surveillance agents collect and interpret our data, we might be “citizens” of the United States based on NSA analyses or “rich” via Facebook’s estimations. In this talk, Cheney-Lippold will theorize what identity means in the contemporary algorithmic age—where who we are seen to be changes minute by minute, and byte by byte.

11:40 Questions – discussion

Moderation: Dimitra L. Milioni, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology


Panel discussion will follow, featuring:


12:00 Michael Sirivianos, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering Computer Engineering and Informatics, Cyprus University of Technology.

The Web Centipede: Understanding How Web Communities Influence Each Other Through the Lens of Mainstream and Alternative News Sources

 As the number and the diversity of news outlets on the Web grow, so does the opportunity for alternative sources of information to emerge. Using large social networks like Twitter and Facebook, misleading, false, or agenda-driven information can quickly and seamlessly spread online, deceiving people or influencing their opinions. Also, the increased engagement of tightly knit communities, such as Reddit and 4chan, further compounds the problem, as their users initiate and propagate alternative information, not only within their own communities, but also to different ones as well as various social media. In fact, these platforms have become an important piece of the modern information ecosystem, which, thus far, has not been studied as a whole.

In our work, we begin to fill this gap by studying mainstream and alternative news shared on Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan. By analyzing millions of posts around several axes, we measure how mainstream and alternative news flows between these platforms. Our results indicate that alt-right communities within 4chan and Reddit can have a surprising level of influence on Twitter, providing evidence that fringe communities often succeed in spreading alternative news to mainstream social networks and the greater Web.


12:30 Christos Danezis, General Manager, Sigmalive Ltd. / Dias Media Group

Technologies that change the practice of journalism

Data collection during consumption of online content and the ways in which they are processed radically alters the way journalists produce and serve their stories. Newsrooms want to have more tools for acquiring information about the kind of content audiences choose to read/view, as well as about the hours, devices, platforms and the ways audiences prefer to consume news content. This information helps journalism produce more relevant and more targeted news. At the same time, the rapid increase in smartphone usage for surfing the web and the new technologies that have been developed lead journalists to experiment with new ways of presenting news.


13:00 Εlias Tsaousakis, Political Scientist, Strategic Communication Consultant

Political communication and campaign planning in the era of Big Data

How do Big Data influence the planning of an election campaign? Is the behaviour of the electorate affected? What is different now compared to a few years earlier? What are the available tools for attracting voters? How effective are they? The cases of the US and Donald Trump’s election and the campaign towards the British referendum. What is the current situation in Greece and Cyprus?


13:30 Questions – discussion

Panel moderation: Angeliki Gazi, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology


14:30 Reception – light lunch


Language: English and Greek


This event is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme through NOTRE project. NOTRE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 692058.


Images from the event

John Chenney Lippold Q&A with J.C. Lippold Elias Tsaousakis Michalis Sivirianos Christos Danezis