May 5, 2019

Instagram announces Request for Proposals for Well-being and Safety Research at CHI 2019

By: Meta Research

CHI is the premier conference in human-computer interaction (HCI), and it covers the gamut of HCI research, from detailed interaction models in AR/VR to understanding technology’s impact on society. Attendees at CHI include academic and industry researchers, students, and other stakeholders. Facebook has long been a sponsor of CHI, and Facebook researchers donate their time to serve as reviewers, technical program area chairs, and organizing committee members.

As a part of several Facebook Research activities at CHI, Instagram is launching a request for proposals (RFP) for safety and well-being research at CHI 2019. Instagram is looking for proposals that investigate experiences on the platform that foster or harm the well-being and safety of our communities and societies. Find out more about the Instagram’s RFP for Well-being and Safety Research in the next section.

Instagram Request for Proposals for Well-being and Safety Research

Instagram’s mission is to bring people closer to the people and things they love. To achieve this, we need to invest in keeping our communities safe and understanding Instagram’s impact on human well-being. There is an ongoing conversation about how every day social media usage affects personal, community and societal well-being, as well as the affect of those who use social media to compromise the safety and beliefs of others. To combat this, we have focused on technology and people to remove bad content and behavior from our services. While we do a lot to understand these problematic issues, the effectiveness of these efforts relies strongly on our engagement with foundational research and partnerships with social scientists.

In 2019, Instagram requests research proposals to help us better understand experiences on Instagram that foster or harm the well-being and safety of our communities and societies. This includes, but is not limited to, research that will help us understand problematic issues facing our communities, develop better policies, assess possible interventions to protect our communities, or identify the mechanisms (such as social support and social comparison) through which Instagram usage has a direct impact on well-being.

Applications close Wednesday, July 3, at 5:00 pm PT.

For more information and to apply, visit the Instagram Request for Proposals for Well-being and Safety Research page.

Facebook research being presented at CHI 2019

A few Facebook researchers are attending the conference to present their work, give talks, and participate in academic outreach. Here are the papers being presented by Facebook Research, along with their abstracts:

An Explanation of Fitts’ Law-like Performance in Gaze-Based Selection Tasks Using a Psychophysics Approach
Immo Schuetz, Kevin MacKenzie, Marina Zannoli & Scott Murdison

Abstract: Eye gaze as an input method has been studied since the 1990s, to varied results: some studies found gaze to be more efficient than traditional input methods like a mouse, others far behind. Comparisons are often backed up by Fitts’ Law without explicitly acknowledging the ballistic nature of saccadic eye movements. Using a vision science-inspired model, we here show that a Fitts’-like distribution of movement times can arise due to the execution of secondary saccades, especially when targets are small. Study participants selected circular targets using gaze. Seven different target sizes and two saccade distances were used. We then determined performance across target sizes for different sampling windows (“dwell times”) and predicted an optimal dwell time range. Best performance was achieved for large targets reachable by a single saccade. Our findings highlight that Fitts’ Law, while a suitable approximation in some cases, is an incomplete description of gaze interaction dynamics.

Design and Evaluation of a Social Media Writing Support Tool for People with Dyslexia
Lindsay Reynolds, Paco Guzmán, Shaomei Wu & Xian Li

Abstract: People with dyslexia face challenges expressing themselves in writing on social networking sites (SNSs). Such challenges come from not only the technicality of writing, but also the self-representation aspect of sharing and communicating publicly on social networking sites such as Facebook. To empower people with dyslexia-style writing to express themselves more confidently on SNSs, we designed and implemented Additional Writing Help (AWH) – a writing assistance tool to proofread text produced by users with dyslexia before they post on Facebook. AWH was powered by a neural machine translation (NMT) model that translates dyslexia style to non-dyslexia style writing. We evaluated the performance and the design of AWH through a week-long field study with 19 people with dyslexia and received highly positive feedback. Our field study demonstrated the value of providing better and more extensive writing support on SNSs, and the potential of AI for building a more inclusive Internet.

Lost in Style: Gaze-Driven Adaptive Aid for VR Navigation
Rawan Alghofaili, Yasuhito Sawahata, Haikun Huang, Hsueh-Cheng Wang, Takaaki Shiratori & Lap-Fai Yu

Abstract: A key challenge for virtual reality level designers is striking a balance between maintaining the immersiveness of VR and providing users with on-screen aids after designing a virtual experience. These aids are often necessary for wayfinding in virtual environments with complex paths.

We introduce a novel adaptive aid that maintains the effectiveness of traditional aids, while equipping designers and users with the controls of how often help is displayed. Our adaptive aid uses gaze patterns in predicting user’s need for navigation aid in VR and displays mini-maps or arrows accordingly. Using a dataset of gaze angle sequences of users navigating a VR environment and markers of when users requested aid, we trained an LSTM to classify user’s gaze sequences as needing navigation help and display an aid. We validated the efficacy of the adaptive aid for wayfinding compared to other commonly-used wayfinding aids.

Pseudo-HapticWeight: Changing the Perceived Weight of Virtual Objects by Manipulating Control-Display Ratio
Majed Samad, Elia Gatti, Anne Hermes, Hrvoje Benko & Cesare Parise

Abstract: In virtual reality, the lack of kinesthetic feedback often prevents users from experiencing the weight of virtual objects. Control-to-display (C/D) ratio manipulation has been proposed as a method to induce weight perception without kinesthetic feedback. Based on the fact that lighter (heavier) objects are easier (harder) to move, this method induces an illusory perception of weight by manipulating the rendered position of users’ hands—increasing or decreasing their displayed movements. In a series of experiments we demonstrate that C/D-ratio induces a genuine perception of weight, while preserving ownership over the virtual hand. This means that such a manipulation can be easily introduced in current VR experiences without disrupting the sense of presence. We discuss these findings in terms of estimation of physical work needed to lift an object. Our findings provide the first quantification of the range of C/D-ratio that can be used to simulate weight in virtual reality.

Understanding Perceptions of Problematic Facebook Use: When People Experience Negative Life Impact and a Lack of Control
Justin Cheng, Elena Goetz Davis & Moira Burke

Abstract: Through focus groups (n=61) and surveys (n=2,083) of parents and teens, we investigated how parents and their teen children experience their own and each other’s phone use in the context of parent-teen relationships. Both expressed a lack of agency in their own and each other’s phone use, feeling overly reliant on their own phone and displaced by the other’s phone. In a classic example of the fundamental attribution error, each party placed primary blame on the other, and rationalized their own behavior with legitimizing excuses. We present a conceptual model showing how parents’ and teens’ relationships to their phones and perceptions of each other’s phone use are inextricably linked, and how, together, they contribute to parent-teen tensions and disconnections. We use the model to consider how the phone might play a less highly charged role in family life and contribute to positive connections between parents and their teen children.

When Do People Trust Their Social Groups?
Justin Cheng, Shankar Iyer, Xiao Ma & Mor Naaman

Abstract: Trust facilitates cooperation and supports positive outcomes in social groups, including member satisfaction, information sharing, and task performance. Extensive prior research has examined individuals’ general propensity to trust, as well as the factors that contribute to their trust in specific groups. Here, we build on past work to present a comprehensive framework for predicting trust in groups. By surveying 6,383 Facebook Groups users about their trust attitudes and examining aggregated behavioral and demographic data for these individuals, we show that (1) an individual’s propensity to trust is associated with how they trust their groups, (2) groups that are smaller, closed, older, more exclusive or more homogeneous are trusted more, and (3) a group’s overall friendship-network structure and an individual’s position within that structure further predict trust. Last, we demonstrate how group trust predicts outcomes at both individual and group level such as the formation of new friendship ties.

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If you are attending CHI, come visit the research teams at the Facebook booth.