Dr. Risius research is funded with approximately $1.5m AUD by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the Hong Kong Research Council, Facebook, the German Academic Exchange Service, UQ Start-Up Grants and Temple University Young Scholar Forum.

Combatting Cyberterrorism

Collaborator: Kevin Blasiak

Grant scheme: University of Queensland Start-up Grant ($20k AUD)

Terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet poses a major threat for modern democracies. In the Christchurch Call to Action, 48 countries committed to "bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism" (Jacinda Ardern & Emmanuel Macron, 2019). We pursue the vision of combatting cyberterrorism through means of regulation and technology. We initially intend to focus on the following objectives & steps to achieve our long-term vision: (1) Introduce us to the field by engaging with key stakeholder groups, (2) Establish UQ as entity, actively conducting Cyberterrorism research, (3) Introduce and establish Cyberterrorism in the IS discipline, (4) Extend impact and engagement to develop capabilities for larger grants , and (5) Become a leading voice in informing global regulation and technological counter measures.

Privacy and Data Use

Collaborators: Reza Ghaiumy Anaraky, Bart Knijnenburg
Grant Scheme
: Facebook PhD Fellowship, Facebook Research ($90k USD)

Reza received a two-year Facebook PhD fellowship to support his work on privacy and data use. He focuses on empowering minorities and older adult populations to manage their online privacy as these groups are currently less attended in academic literature and industry.

For further information:

Political Bots in Social Media: Behaviour and Impact Analysis

Collaborator: Bikesh Upreti

Grant scheme: University of Queensland Start-up Grant ($20k AUD)

When the news on Cambridge Analytics’ social media data harvesting for political consulting[1] surfaced, it sent a shock wave around the globe. This project aims to contribute in two folds; political bots identify and understand these bots’ behavior and impact in political discourse. During the early stage, the project aims at developing a model capable of identifying the political bots active on Twitter. This work encompasses a systematic review of existing literature and news media to develop a comprehensive definition of bots, collect data, label data, and develop the prediction algorithm. During the second phase, once the bots are identified, the project builds on these identified bots. It aims to conduct a longitudinal study to understand the Bot activity, their interaction with users, and their role in influencing public opinion.

AI versus Human Fact Checkers: Do Trust and Reputation Affect the Spread of Fake News?

Collaborators: Guohou Shan, Jason Thatcher, Sunil Wattal

Grant scheme: Temple University Young Scholars Award ($1k USD)

This research helps inform platform providers on the implications of fact-checking by humans vs. AI on user engagement with content and enriches platform providers’ understanding of the effect of poster reputation in stopping fake news.

Terrorist and Violent Extremist Use of the Internet, Including Social Media Platform Services and Tools

Collaborators: Winnifred Louis, Susilo Wibisono, Kevin Blasiak

Grant scheme: Australian Government Department of Home Affairs ($60k AUD)

Terrorist and violent extremist use of internet platforms and social media is a major threat for modern democracies. While online networks provide virtually unlimited opportunities to connect and communicate with other people, they also promote the unilateral consumption of information that is similar to already held views, facilitate the propagation of fake news and ultimately the polarization of opinions. Social media campaigns that divide the public and radicalize individuals are becoming increasingly common approaches to interference with international and domestic issues. We are pursuing a research program in which we address these societal issues of social media technologies.

Cybermobbing on Social Media

The Role of Technology in Formation, Prevention, and Intervention of Online Collective Deviant Behavior

Collaborators: Christy Cheung, Jason Thatcher, Xiao-Liang Shen

Grant scheme: Hong Kong Research Grants Council, Senior Research Fellow Scheme ($1.3m AUD)

Our project aims to study the collective nature and mechanism of cybermobbing on social media and evaluate technology-based prevention and intervention strategies. In the first phase, we scrutinize the underlying collective nature of cybermobbing (online collective deviant behaviors) and examine how socio-technical factors (i.e., influences of other social media users, anonymous interactions, and disinformation tactics on social media platforms) affect cybermobbing on social media. In the second phase, we identify technology-based prevention and intervention strategies and examine their effectiveness for cybermobbing on social media.

Understanding Blockchain Affordances

Collaborator: Kai Spohrer

Grant scheme: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) ($47k AUD)

We have developed a joint research agenda on blockchain platforms and their distinctive properties. We plan to complete this research during the next two and a half years. Specifically, we aim to answer the research questions:

RQ1: What are the market mechanisms specific to blockchain platforms that influence their value, specifically in the form of cryptocurrency prices?

RQ2: What are the general affordances of blockchain platforms for service providers

RQ3: How do service providers respond to the different affordances of distinct blockchain platforms under development?

RQ4: Which consequences do hard forks have for blockchain platforms and their ecosystems?

RQ5: How do service providers on a blockchain safeguard against hard forks?