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WebSci’21

ONLINE | JUNE 21ST-25TH, 2021

Web technologies can hinder or promote equity, and can exacerbate intersectional disadvantages. In recent years, this challenge has been amplified by the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence and the automation of Web-based tasks as well as ongoing divides in Web access, use, and skill.

Organised by the University of Southampton, WebSci 2021 focused on the challenges for Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID, particularly in light of the ongoing global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society, and vice versa. As such, the field of Web Science is particularly well situated to address these pressing issues.

Our partners, Barbara Guidi and Andrea Michienzi from the University of Pisa, organised the 3-hour tutorial “The Decentralization of Social Media through the Blockchain Technology” on June 22nd starting at 9:00am. 

Abstract: In this tutorial, we will highlight the Blockchain Online Social Media (BOSMs scenario) by presenting their main characteristics and how data could be collected and analysed. We will provide an overview of the blockchain technology and how it is used in BOSMs, and we will show current BOSMs, such as Steemit, how they work, and how data could be collected and analysed.

The technical side of the tutorial will be principally focused on the blockchain Steem and it will cover two parts: an overview of how data could be collected, and the setup of graph analyses. In the first part, we will build a minimal crawler for the blocks that are published in the blockchain by exploiting the official Python APIs provided by Steem. In the second part of the tutorial, we will show how these data can be used for a number of analyses, showing a concrete example by building a graph of transactions through efficient large-scale graph libraries such as Networkit and iGraph.

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