WASHINGTON – China is slightly ahead of South Korea and the United States in the race to develop fifth generation wireless networks, or 5G, a U.S. study showed Monday. The study released by the CTIA, a U.S.-based industry association of wireless carriers, suggested that the United States is lagging in the effort to deploy the superfast wireless systems that will be needed for self-driving cars, telemedicine and other technologies. The report prepared by the research firm Analysys Mason found that all major Chinese providers have committed to specific launch dates and the government has committed to allocate spectrum for the carriers. The 10-nation study said the U.S. is in the "first tier" of countries in preparing deployment of 5G, along with China, South Korea and Japan. In the second tier are key European markets, including France, Germany and Britain, with Singapore, Russia and Canada in the third tier.
Like traditional media, social media in China is subject to censorship. However, in limited cases, activists have employed homophones of censored keywords to avoid detection by keyword matching algorithms. In this paper, we show that it is possible to scale this idea up in ways that make it difficult to defend against. Specifically, we present a non-deterministic algorithm for generating homophones that create large numbers of false positives for censors, making it difficult to locate banned conversations. In two experiments, we show that 1) homophone-transformed weibos posted to Sina Weibo remain on-site three times longer than their previously censored counterparts, and 2) native Chinese speakers can recover the original intent behind the homophone-transformed messages, with 99% of our posts understood by the majority of our participants. Finally, we find that coping with homophone transformations is likely to cost the Sina Weibo censorship apparatus an additional 15 hours of human labor per day, per censored keyword. To conclude, we reflect briefly on the opportunities presented by this algorithm to build interactive, client-side tools that promote free speech.
In the summer of 2013, Brazil experienced a period of conflict triggered by a series of protests. While the popular press covered the events, little empirical work has investigated how first-hand reporting of the protests occurred and evolved over social media and how such exposure in turn impacted the demonstrations themselves. In this study we examine over 42 million tweets shared during the three months of conflict in order to uncover patterns in online and offline protest-related activity as well as to explore relationships between language-use in tweets and the emotions and underlying motivations of protesters. Our findings show that peaks in Twitter activity coincide with days in which heavy protesting took place, that the words in tweets reflect emotional characteristics of protest-related events, and less expectedly, that these emotions convey both positive as well as negative sentiment.
Zhang, Ark Fangzhou (University of Michigan) | Livneh, Danielle (University of Michigan) | Budak, Ceren (University of Michigan) | Robert, Lionel (University of Michigan) | Romero, Daniel (University of Michigan)
Collaborative crowdsourcing has become a popular approach to organizing work across the globe. Being global also means being vulnerable to shocks — unforeseen events that disrupt crowds — that originate from any country. In this study, we examine changes in collaborative behavior of editors of Chinese Wikipedia that arise due to the 2005 government censorship in mainland China. Using the exogenous variation in the fraction of editors blocked across different articles due to the censorship, we examine the impact of reduction in group size, which we denote as the shock level, on three collaborative behavior measures: volume of activity, centralization, and conflict. We find that activity and conflict drop on articles that face a shock, whereas centralization increases. The impact of a shock on activity increases with shock level, whereas the impact on centralization and conflict is higher for moderate shock levels than for very small or very high shock levels. These findings provide support for threat rigidity theory — originally introduced in the organizational theory literature — in the context of large-scale collaborative crowds.
In the U.S., individuals give more than 200 billion dollars to over 50 thousand charities each year, yet how people make these choices is not well understood. In this study, we use data from CharityNavigator.org and web browsing data from Bing toolbar to understand charitable giving choices. Our main goal is to use data on charities' overhead expenses to better understand efficiency in the charity marketplace. A preliminary analysis indicates that the average donor is "wasting" more than 15% of their contribution by opting for poorly run organizations as opposed to higher rated charities in the same Charity Navigator categorical group. However, charities within these groups may not represent good substitutes for each other. We use text analysis to identify substitutes for charities based on their stated missions and validate these substitutes with crowd-sourced labels. Using these similarity scores, we simulate market outcomes using web browsing and revenue data. With more realistic similarity requirements, the estimated loss drops by 75%—much of what looked like inefficient giving can be explained by crowd-validated similarity requirements that are not fulfilled by most charities within the same category. A choice experiment helps us further investigate the extent to which a recommendation system could impact the market. The results indicate that money could be redirected away from the long-tail of inefficient organizations. If widely adopted, the savings would be in the billions of dollars, highlighting the role the web could have in shaping this important market.