Dedicated to Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954),
a pioneer of computer science.
The mass adoption of the World Wide Web (W W W) constitutes a
major point in the history of civil rights and the empowerment of
the oppressed. One of the main features of the W W W was online
communication through (then-popular) chat rooms (e.g. AOL). It
was the first time people with a similar mindset and shared agonies
could communicate without being limited by geography, and, more
importantly, without feeling exposed or vulnerable. For the LGBT
community, the W W W and its post-products, like social media,
represent a major backbone of their everyday communication. (For
example, a study found 80 percent of LGBT respondents utilized
social media, compared to 58 percent of the general population1).
AOL chat rooms were only the beginning. In the mid ‘90s, dating
websites like gay.com started a socializing revolution by allowing
users access to the profiles and photos of other members. Soon after,
other websites offering LGBT content became popular and went
mainstream in the LGBT community. The second social revolution
happened due to the rise of smartphones and other handheld devices,
which made communication even simpler and faster with new
location-based dating apps, such as Grindr (and years later, Tinder).
More recently, the tech industry itself has fought for the rights
of oppressed communities. A landmark example was Google’s
“Legalize love” campaign in 2012, the goal of which was to foster safe
conditions for LGBT people inside and outside their workplace in
countries with anti-gay laws. Another important example was when
Salesforce.com, a San Francisco-based cloud computing company
and one of the largest tech employers in Indiana, threatened to stop
further investments unless then-Governor Mike Pence repealed a
specific law that would have enabled discrimination against LGBT
people. Moreover, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was the first CEO of a
Fortune 500 company to come out as gay.
One cannot help but think the remarkable impact of digital
technology on today’s fortification and acceptance of the rights of
the LGBT community is destiny’s apology to one of the pioneers of
computer science and a father figure of computing and artificial
intelligence. Alan Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts,
and died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning.
DOI: 10.1145/3155220 Copyright held by author.
flects social and psychological processes, such as deception and
persuasion. My approach uses several
data sources, from social media (e.g.,
Yelp) to professional media (e.g., science publications), to take advantage
of the increasingly recorded nature of
communication behavior that is left
online for analysis.
One recent area of my work investigates how deception occurs in mobile
dating conversations. With Professor
Jeff Hancock, Founding Director of
the Social Media Lab, we recruited
subjects to provide their messages to
a dating partner and rate the deceptiveness of their message content.
The frequency of lies was low (
approximately 10 percent of all messages), however, nearly 60 percent of
the lies could be categorized into
two key impression management
goals: ( 1) self-presentation, or lying
to appear interesting and attractive
to the partner, and ( 2) availability
management, or lying to control how
available or desperate a person appears to the date. This is one of the
first studies to evaluate the frequency and content of deceptive mobile
dating conversations using actual
messages from daters.
We are always looking for new collaboration opportunities across our
programs of research at the Social
Media Lab. For more information on
our studies or research approaches,
please contact the Founding Director, Jeff Hancock (jeff.hancock@
stanford.edu), or the Associate Director of the lab, Sunny Liu (sunnyxliu@
David M. Markowitz ( M.Sc. Cornell University; Ph.D.
Stanford University) is a researcher in the Department of
Communication at Stanford. He uses automated methods
to collect and analyze language data to reveal social and
psychological dynamics (e.g., deception, persuasion,
Copyright held by author.
English mathematician Alan Turing is widely recognized the father
of computer science. His work helped the Allies win W W2 against Nazi Germany.
Nonetheless, he was convicted of indecency due to his homosexuality.