How Hyperlink Sharing on Facebook Influences Civic Engagement and Elections in Taiwan

National Chengchi University

Abstract

How sharing of political information/disinformation on social media influences democracy is an important and urgent global issue. Taiwan is the only democratic society in the Chinese-speaking sphere. Studying sharing by Taiwanese Facebook users allows us to understand the role of social media in this society and to see the patterns and effects of disinformation diffusion across societies. Technically, the aim of the project is to identify and characterize the most frequently shared URLs on Facebook by Taiwanese users in public events. By combining computational and qualitative methods, we aim to approximate the public’s opinions by analyzing the shared content. We seek to identify the sources of disinformation (i.e., fake news) and to characterize the mechanism of fake news formation in Taiwan. Additionally, the project will attempt to determine whether the echo-chamber effect takes place and how it is involved in the propagation of disinformation among Taiwanese Facebook users.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

Pai-lin Chen

Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Journalism, National Chengchi University

  • Bio ▾

    Dr. Pai-Lin Chen is currently professor and chairperson of the Department of Journalism at the National Chengchi University, Taiwan. His project focuses on the ecological changes of news organizations by analyzing online news content. It is a three-year grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Taiwan. He has studied the use of social media during periods of major public events in the past few years. Most of his research is currently supported by an interdisciplinary team, with researchers from communications and computer science backgrounds. He teaches data journalism, social analytics, information visualization, etc.

Participants

Kung Chen

Professor and Director of Computer Center, National Chengchi University

  • Bio ▾

    Kung Chen is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taiwan. His research is focused on aspect-oriented software design, programming languages, and the interaction between programming languages and software design. Prior to joining NCCU, Dr. Chen worked in the software industry for a few years, and taught at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology and Tatung University. While in the industry, he was the chief architect for several web application development tools and frameworks. Recently, Chen finished an aspect-oriented design and implementation of declarative access control for web applications. With colleagues at National University of Singapore, he is developing a static and coherent aspect weaving system for higher-order functional languages. Chen is a co-organizer of the Asian Workshop on Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AAOSD) and a program committee member of the Fourth Asian Symposium on Programming Languages and Systems (APLAS 2006). He completed his PhD in computer science at Yale University in 1994, and his thesis is about a parametric extension of Haskell's type classes.

Yu-Chung Cheng

Associate Professor, National Chengchi University

  • Bio ▾

    Dr. Yu-Chung Cheng is currently an associate professor in the Department of Journalism, National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taiwan. She was educated at National Taiwan University (NTU) with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and at NCCU with a master’s degree in journalism. From 1999 to 2001, she served as a journalist for the Economical Daily News, a major financial newspaper in Taiwan. She studied at the Department of Journalism in NCCU and received her PhD degree in 2009. She was a postdoctoral scholar at NCCU from 2009 to 2011, and it was during this period of time that she began interdisciplinary collaborative research with computer scientists. Afterward, she joined Hsuan Chuang University as an assistant professor in 2011 and became an associate professor in 2015. She moved to NCCU as an associate professor in February 2019.

    Her research interests are social media, computational communicational methodology, data journalism, digital humanity, science and risk/crisis communication, and science and technology studies. Her online CV is on https://erenlai.academia.edu/YuchungCheng. Her email is yuchungc@nccu.edu.tw.

Shiuh-Feng Shih

Data Scientist, National Chengchi University

  • Bio ▾

    Mr. Shiuh-Feng Shih is currently a data scientist in the Department of Journalism, National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taiwan. He was educated at NCCU with a master’s degree in computer science. From 2013 to 2019, he served as a data scientist in several projects relating to mobile user behavior tracking, data visualization, machine learning for classifier, natural language processing, web information crawler, social media data analysis, and extended fields. He has experience in Python programming with scikit-learn, gensim, and jieba and database experience in MariaDB (MySQL), InfluxDB, and MSSQL. His email is jeffy.sf@gmail.com.

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