Discovery & Impact

MDI’s Laila Wahedi Wins Data Challenge on Russian Trolls

January 2, 2019


Dr. Laila Wahedi, MDI’s Postdoc Fellow, won an award for her work on Russian trolls at the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) North American Social Network (NASN) Conference held in Washington, DC on November 27-30.

Dr. Wahedi participated in the INSNA’s inaugural data challenge, which asked participants to research Russian trolls. Dr. Wahedi presentation “Exploring How Russia Used IRA Troll Accounts,” analyzed what could be learned about Russian trolls by observing their online activity. Her findings will be published at a future date.

She also gave a talk at the NASN Conference titled “Constructing Networks From Social Media Data: Different Constructs and their Consequences” based on the work that she and the MDI team have done on network constructions from social media data.

The NASN Conference is a regional conference of INSNA) that provides an interdisciplinary venue for social scientists, computer scientists, ethnologists, epidemiologists, organizational theorists, and other experts to present and learn about each other’s latest work on social networks. Examples of some of the topics discussed at the NASN conference ranged from methods for social network analysis to modeling social networks and behavior, and analyzing and visualizing these data.

Dr. Wahedi specializes in researching networks of militant organizations and the impact of these patterns of aligned groups. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Georgetown in 2017.