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Meet the Authors Series: A First Course in Network Science: How Networks Help Us Understand Social Media and Their Vulnerabilities

We experience networks every day: networks of friends, communication, computers, the Web, and transportation. The networks in our brain and cells determine our very survival. A First Course in Network Science (Cambridge University Press, 2020) is a textbook designed to introduce networks to a broad audience of undergraduate students from information science, computing, business, natural and social sciences. This book uses a hands-on approach: programming tutorials, exercises, and datasets allow readers to gain and test their understanding by building and analyzing networks in many domains. This talk overviews the book's topics, with a focus on cases that illustrate how networks help us understand our vulnerability to manipulation and misinformation on social media.


Filippo Menczer is a distinguished professor of informatics and computer science and director of the Observatory on Social Media at Indiana University. He holds a Laurea in Physics from the Sapienza University of Rome and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Menczer is an ACM Fellow and a board member of the IU Network Science Institute. His research interests span Web and data science, computational social science, science of science, and modeling of complex information networks. In the last ten years, his lab has led efforts to study online misinformation spread and to develop tools to detect and counter social media manipulation.