Information and Interface Design


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Shengwen Lin found an image of a military jet featuring some obvious image editing. The original image shows a Ugandan Airforce jet with the Ugandan flag painted on the tail fin. In the doctored image the Ugandan flag has been crudely replaced with the flag of South Sudan. Shengwen designed and built a timeline scroller telling the story of how this image was distributed through Facebook via likes, comments and shares. The swipe interaction on the image highlights how the image has been altered in one respect only but otherwise remains exactly the same photo.

On visible posts in public groups Facebook shows data related to how many people have liked or shared a particular piece of content. From this data it is possible to extrapolate the potential reach of that content. This post has over 100 shares of which 42 were public, that implies significant reach in the worldwide network of people who have seen this image and consider it worthwhile to share to their own networks. 

Finally, Shengwen showed the global distribution of this post. Much of this is unknown in the context of South Sudan online hate speech and it has been difficult to gain any detailed understanding of the importance of the worldwide South Sudanese disappear in this context. From this visualisation we can see that there are 4 people who shared the image, each with over 3,000 followers. Overall a sophisticated and detailed look at a single post. The potential with a computational approach to social media data analysis of this kind is that it can be applied to any piece of content.

The whole project is online here