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UA Little Rock Grad Investigates Spread of Misinformation Through Social Media

Maryam Maleki
Myram Maleki is graduating with a PhD in Computer Science as part of the Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) lab. Photo by Ben Krain.

During her time at UA Little Rock, Maryam Maleki has been involved in high-profile research investigating the spread of misinformation across social media.

She leaves UA Little Rock with a Ph.D. in systems engineering and a plan to enter the world of academia. Maleki has already received multiple job offers to teach at universities across the country.

Maleki joined the Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) under Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science, and combined her background in systems engineering with social media research to study how misinformation spreads online following models that also predict the spread of infectious diseases.

“My research is focused on spreading misinformation on social media, especially Twitter,” she said. “I used my background in systems engineering to develop mathematical models and statistical analyses to evaluate the spread of misinformation on Twitter.”

Maleki also evaluates the influence of bots on the spread of fake news and misinformation and evaluates how her model can predict the spread of misinformation that is posted by humans versus bots. Last year, she appeared on Big Rhetorical Podcast Carnival to discuss how misinformation spreads and effective ways to thwart it.

Maleki credits the COSMOS team for making her feel right at home with the international team of researchers at UA Little Rock.

“I really want to thank all Cosmographers for supporting me and helping me,” she said. “I really hope that in my next career as an assistant professor that I can collaborate and help my students. When I leave here, I would like to continue my collaboration and publication with the researchers at COSMOS. This group is one of the best that I ever worked with, and I was lucky to get the opportunity to work with them.”