About

I am a Chargée de Recherches (equivalent to a tenured facutly position) at CNRS since October 2017. I am part of the Inria CEDAR team at Laboratoire d'Informatique de l'École Polytechnique. Before September 2022, I was hoste in the Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble. Prior to this I was a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems working with Krishna Gummadi. I obtained my Ph.D. in 2014 from the Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris under the supervision of Renata Teixeira.

To audit and study risks with online platforms, we need data! If you want to help our research, please consider donating data about the content you see online by installing CheckMyNews (version Française).

We are setting an European Panel to monitor disinformaiton. If you would like to voluneer data please suscribe to our mailing list.


My research is supported by an ERC Starting Grant (2022-2027).

I am looking for motivated interns, Ph.D. students, and postdocs looking to work on analyzing risks with online platforms such as disinformation, security, privacy, or child protection. To apply, please send me a CV, the transcript of your grades (for internship and Ph.D. applications), and optionally recommendation letters.

News

Nov 2023 Busy November. I have been invited to be a speaker at the OECD event on Tackling disinformation: Strengthening democracy through information integrity. Here is a link to the replay of my session. I have also been invited to speak in the European Parliment at the AIvolution event, and here is the replay of the event.
Oct 2023 I am super thrilled to share that I received the Lovelace-Babbage Award from the French Academy of Science and the French Computer Society. Words are not enough to describe how grateful I am. Here is the link to the solemn ceremony.
Oct 2023 Very important paper out! Marketing to Children Through Online Targeted Advertising: Targeting Mechanisms and Legal Aspects. We show how easy it is for marketers to reach children on YouTube by placing their ads on specific videos children watch and how there are no legal restrictions on this type of micro-targeting.
Sept 2023 Salim got his work accepted to IMC'23! Understanding the Privacy Risks of Popular Search Engine Advertising Systems. The paper explores the privacy properties of advertising systems employed by three privacy-focused search engines: DuckDuckGo, StartPage, and Qwant and shows evidence of bounce tracking and user identifiers smuggling.
June 2023 I will be serving as External Expert for the European Comission on the Delegated Regulation on data access provided for in the Digital Services Act.
Feb 2023 Vera got her second WWW paper! On Detecting Policy-Related Political Ads: An Exploratory Analysis of Meta Ads during the 2022 French Election . FYI, Vera will be defending soon her PhD and she will be soon on the job market! :)
Nov 2022 After 6 years from having the idea and applying for a grant to hire a student, and two years of full time work, our paper on Collaborative Ad Transparency: Promises and Limitations is finally pyblished at IEEE Security & Privacy 2023. Eleni and Thanos did amazing work!
July 2022 Together with Béatrice Roussillon, Joëlle Farchy, Lucien Castex and Juliette Sénéchalwe we answered the ARCOM Public consultation on access to data from online platforms for research purposes. Here is our statement.
Feb 2022 Our paper on Exploring the Online Micro-targeting Practices of Small, Medium, and Large Businesses got accepted at CSCW 2022. Kudos to Salim for his first paper!
July 2022 Starting September I will be moving to Laboratoire d'Informatique de l'École Polytechnique (LIX) and I will join the Inria CEDAR team. Really excited! :)
Jan 2022 Major news! I have been awared an ERC starting grant for my project MOMENTOUS: Measuring and Mitigating Risks of AI-driven Information Targeting! Looking to hire at all levels!
March 2021 New research from our group and NYU: Far-right news sources on Facebook more engaging. Also covered by Wired, CNN, and USA TODAY.
Jan 2021 Our paper Facebook Ads Monitor: An Independent Auditing System for Political Ads on Facebook has received the CNIL-Inria Privacy Protection Award 2020. Here is an interview in French that describes the work and the implications for law.
Jan 2021 More good news in January! I received a H2020 grant, so I will be looking to hire PhD students and postdocs! Drop me an email if you are interested!
Jan 2021 Our paper Understanding the Complexity of Detecting Political Ads has been accepted to The Web Conference 2021. The paper analyzes the ads that people disagree they are political. Congratulations Vera!
Sept 2020 Together with 30 civil societies we wrote a joint statement calling for Universal Advertising Transparency by Default. The statement was submitted to the DSA consultation. See the press release.
April 2020 Here are the slides and a recording of the presentation of our paper "Facebook Ads Monitor: An Independent Auditing System for Political Ads on Facebook" accepted to The Web Conference 2020 and received the Honorable Mention Award.

Research Interests

I work on problems related to AI and Society. As a security and privacy researcher, I spend a lot of time thinking about how social media systems and online advertising can be used to negatively impact humans and society and what can we do against it.

In practice, we design measurement methodologies and experiments to understand problems in AI-based systems. We collect and work with data from real systems and real humans.

This topic is interdisciplinary by nature. We work with economists and cognitive scientists to better understand humans and work with legal scholars to find appropriate protective solutions.

For a quick glimpse over some of my latest research, here are a few articles I co-authored, and that explain our work for a general audience:

Publications

Students

Ph.D. students


Former members

Tools

Pour surveiller les publicités à caractère politique envoyées sur Facebook avant les élections présidentielles de 2022, essayez notre service: Elections 2022.

CheckMyNews: A mixed-method platform to measure the impact of social media information on humans

AdAnalyst: Platform to audit targeted advertising practices

IdentityImpersonation: Service to identity impersonation attacks on Twitter

Open Positions

I am always looking for motivated interns, Ph.D. students, and postdocs. If you are interested in working in security and privacy problems related to social media systems and online advertising, drop me an email with a brief statement of interest and a CV.

Personal

(sometime before 2016) Patrick Loiseau is my wonderful husband. It is rather cool be able to work together and do science over a glass of wine.
Update 1 (sometime in 2017): ... after our son goes to bed .
Update 2 (sometime in 2018-2019): This statement is no longer true after the birth of our second son... we are just walking zombies, amazed another day passed, and we are still alive!
Update 3 (april 2020): Life continues to be crazy with these guys.
Update 4 (dec 2022): There is light at the other end of the tunnel! :) Life with a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old is surprisingly easy (most of the time)! And here is a photo to prove it.:)