Social media is the largest, richest, and most dynamic evidence base for human behaviour, and brings new opportunities to understand groups, movements and society. Social media analytics – the automated collection and analysis of millions of people talking and arguing with one another – has already revolutionised marketing and advertising.
It could revolutionise policy and social research work too. However, as it stands, the current field of social media analytics is inadequate for policy makers: standards of evidence and methodological rigour are not high enough to influence decision or policy-making. Samples of convenience often produce ‘raw’ metrics with no further corroboration, explanation or interpretation. Considerations of culture, context, group, language and psychology are rare, and the ethics of social media research even rarer.
CASM, in collaboration with a wide network of experts and leaders in the field, combines computer science with social science in order to develop social media analysis as a valid instrument of research that meets the needs of policy and decision-makers: ethical, reliable, and useable.
CASM is currently working on the following project areas:
All our outputs are:
We shortly have research papers being released about online hate speech; the police and Twitter; and new polling of supporters of left-wing populist movements in Europe.
Evidence submission: A Joint Committee of MPs and Lords was convened by the Home Secretary to provide scrutiny on the Draft Communications Bill in the face of wide public concern and criticism by civic society groups.
Jamie Bartlett, Demos' Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media appeared before the Committee on the 17th of October and this is the written submission he and Carl Miller were thereafter asked to provide. It argues for public attitudes to be put at the heart of a system that manages and mitigates the possible harms to privacy entailed by the access of communications data.
Hate speech conference: Carl Miller gave a presentation in Budapest as part of the Council of Europe's 'Tackling hate speech: Living together online' conference. Read the full text of the presentation on research perspective here and watch a video featuring Carl on the topic of online hate speech here.
The team consists of a core staff of five, responsible for the delivery of most products. The team is highly experienced and widely published in social media research techniques and policy-making. The Centre also collaborates with a wider network of experts and organisations that advise on various aspects of the work, and provide additional research support where necessary.
Jamie Bartlett is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media.
Jamie is also the Head of the Violence and Extremism Programme at Demos. An expert on research methodology, Jamie is the author of more than 20 Demos pamphlets. He advises a number of international government agencies and related groups in relation to terrorism and extremism, and is a frequent commentator in national and international media. Contact Jamie to find out more about the Centre.
Carl Miller is Research Director of the Centre.
He specialises in the use of social media research to learn about people, ideas, groups and society. He is the co-author of the Demos publications #Intelligence (2012), Truth, Lies and the Internet (2011), The Power of Unreason (2010), and papers for academic journals, the European Commission and the United Nations.
Dr Jeremy Reffin is co-founder of the Text Analytics Group at the University of Sussex.
Jeremy is Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, with a background in computer programming, venture capital, and private equity investment.
Professor David Weir is co-founder of the Text Analytics Group at the University of Sussex.
David is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sussex. His research activities cover a broad range of topics relating to the automatic analysis of text by computers, including distributional semantics, linguistic parsing and sentiment analysis.
Simon Wibberley is an Associate.
Simon Wibberley is a Researcher at the Text Analytics Group. Simon's research interests are in statistical text analytics and he specialises in real-time text stream analysis, event detection, and entity recognition. Current projects include developing state of the art event detection and event characterisation techniques for use on Twitter.
Andrew Robertson is a researcher in the Text Analytics Group.
Andrew Robertson is a researcher in the Text Analytics Group. His research interests lie in extracting and utilising deeper structure from text sources such as Twitter, specialising in dependency parsing, entity linking and relation extraction. Current projects include adapting dependency parsing to deal with the noisy text of tweets, and developing techniques for utilising such structural information in complex sentiment analysis.
Angus Bankes founded and was CTO of Moreover Technologies, a business intelligence and news aggregation service, and pioneer of XML and RSS feeds. Angus currently heads up the incubator JustAddRed and is Chief Information Officer at Skimlinks.
Vicky Beeching is a Theologian and Ethicist specialising in the ethics of social media, and the intersection between technology and religion. She holds degrees from Oxford and is a Visiting Research Fellow in Internet Ethics at Durham University.
Professor Stuart Croft is Pro Vice Chancellor for Research (Arts and Social Sciences) at The University of Warwick. He is also President of the British International Studies Association.
Dr Jeremy Crump is a director for safety and security at Cisco Systems and a visiting senior research fellow at the Leeds University Business School. Jeremy was previously a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office and the Home Office and director of strategy for the National Policing Improvement Agency.
Charlie Edwards is Director of National Security and Resilience Studies at the Royal United Services Institute. Prior to RUSI he was a Research Leader at the RAND Corporation focusing on Defence and Security and was previously a former Deputy Director for Strategy and Planning in the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism at the Home Office.
Jennifer Evans is Associate Professor of History at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She currently heads up a Social Science Humanities Research Council of Canada collaborative research project entitled 'Hate 2.0: Combating the Far Right in the Age of Social Technology'.
Catherine Fieschi is the director of Counterpoint, a research and advisory group that focuses on the cultural dynamics of risk. She holds a PhD in Comparative Political Science from McGill University, is a Senior Fellow in the Department of Government at the LSE and is the author of In the Shadow of Democracy (MUP) and of numerous publications on extremism, populism and identity politics.
Christian Gladwell is Director of Human Digital, the social media analysis company, and an expert in the use of social media for policy making.
Professor Chris Hankin is a Professor of Computing Science at Imperial College London and is Director of the Institute for Security Science. He is an advisor to the EU Director General for Information, Society and Media and President of the Scientific Council of INRIA.
Professor Noreena Hertz is an economist, best-selling author and campaigner. She is currently working on a forthcoming book about decision making in a complex world. She is chair of Vox Quorum, a social media analysis company.
Sebastian Kraus is vice-chairman of Asylos, an international network providing case-tailored research for lawyers representing asylum-seekers. He oversees the network's social media research.
Peter Kreko is Director of Political Capital, a policy research and consulting institute in Hungary, and assistant professor at Eötvös Loránd University. He is co-chair of the Preventing Violent Extremism working group of the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network.
Leo Mirani covers technology for Quartz, a global business-news online publication. Prior to joining Quartz, he worked at The Economist. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy and security, digital money, and policy as well as changing business models.
Alberto Nardelli is the Co-founder and CEO of Tweetminster, a media utility that helps people and organisations discover the most relevant content, trends and insight around any topic, industry or market.
Professor Sir David Omand GCB is a visiting professor at King's College London. He is a former UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and Director of GCHQ.
Fran O’Leary is a founder and Director of Lodestone Communications, a strategy and corporate communications consultancy.
Martin Orton is Founding Director of Bold Creative and of The Digital Disruption Project, and an expert in the benefits of digital innovation for social change.
Nick Pickles joined civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch as Director in September 2011, with a background in corporate public relations and technology.
Sam Lincoln is a former senior UK military intelligence officer and Chief Surveillance Inspector with the Office of Surveillance Commissioners.
Alfred Rolington is the CEO of Oxford Analytica and the former CEO of Jane’s Information Group and Chief Executive of Lloyds of London Press Business Publishing.
Philip Sheldrake is Managing Partner of Euler Partners, a social business consultancy. He is also the author of "The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age", a main board director of Intellect, and special advisor to AMEC on the measurement of social media. He leads the measurement and evaluation group at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Milo Yiannopoulis is founder and Editor-in Chief of The Kernel. He was previously Consulting Editor (Technology) for Telegraph.co.uk and a European contributing editor at TechCrunch. In 2011 and again in 2012, Milo was named one of the 100 most influential people in Britain’s digital economy by WIRED magazine.
The Centre is currently recruiting for interns. We welcome applicants with a background in natural language processing, machine learning, sentiment analysis, social research ethics and statistics.
Please contact Jamie on the details below to find out more.
If you would like to know more about the Centre, or explore options for working together, please contact Jamie Bartlett:
This pamphlet outlines a legal, principled grounding for the use of social media for intelligence purposes.
This report analyses the responses of 10,000 online supporters of European populist political parties and movements, looking at the reasons why people are motivated to join.
This report examines the ability of young people in Britain to critically evaluate information they consume online.
This report finds high levels of consumer anxiety over data-sharing and argues that they should be given meaningful choice and control over the information they share.
Innovative research delves to the heart of the English Defence League.
This report presents the results of a survey of 1,865 Facebook fans of Beppe Grillo and the Movimento 5 Stelle, including data on who they are, what they think, and what motivates them to shift from virtual to real-world activism.
This report is an in-depth analysis of the police's use of social media to monitor intelligence, engage with the community, and tackle crime.
This paper uses data analysis of the main political parties' social media supporters, and examines the implications of this new political membership.
This paper compiles almost 20,000 tweets including the tag @MetPoliceUK around the Woolwich attack, and argues that social media creates complex challenges for policing.
This paper is a review of how SOCMINT - social media intelligence - can be drawn from open social media sources.
BBC News reports former Home Secretary's comments at Demos Labour Conference event
Jamie Bartlett is quoted in an Economist piece on predictive policing.
Guardian Home Affairs Editor, Alan Travis, trails Yvette Cooper's speech to Demos on balancing security and civil liberties.
Wired Magazine quotes Carl Miller, co-founder of CASM, on the UK's involvement in the Prism scandal.
Carl Miller writes on the Telegraph's technology blog about how the police can effectively harness social media.
Richard Norton-Taylor's article on UK security in the Guardian cites Carl Miller's response in the aftermath of the PRISM leak.
Jamie Bartlett talks to Rolling Stone magazine about the implications of the Boston bombings.
On BBC R4's Today, Jamie Bartlett discusses the response of social media like Twitter and Reddit to the Boston bombings.
The Telegraph reports on our paper Virtually Members, which found that Liberal Democrat supporters on Twitter are more likely to follow MPs from other parties.
The Telegraph reports on Jamie Bartlett's recent report, 'Policing in an Information Age'.
The recent Demos report into supporters of the Italian comedian and populist reveals a 'volatile mixture' of traits, according to the Economist.
The Financial Times draws on recent Demos research into Beppe Grillo, Italian comedian and leader of the Five Star Movement.
In the New Statesman, Jamie Bartlett argues it is wrong to define the argument over the Draft Communications Bill as one between security and liberty.
In this article for the academic journal Intelligence and National Security, Jamie Bartlett, Carl Miller and Sir David Omand introduce social media intelligence.
In this essay Jamie Bartlett and Hedda Bjorge Soremshaugen explore the reaction of Norway's right-wing blogosphere to the Breivik attacks.
The Kernel feature the launch of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM).