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Profiling Flash Mob Organizers in Web Discussion Forums

Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT,volume 484)


The flash mob phenomenon has been well studied in sociology and other disciplines, but not in the area of digital forensics. Flash mobs sometimes become violent, perpetrate criminal acts and pose threats to public safely. For these reasons, understanding flash mob activities and identifying flash mob organizers are important tasks for law enforcement. This chapter presents a technique for extracting key online behavioral attributes from a popular Hong Kong discussion forum to identify topic authors – potential flash mob organizers – who belong to a vocal minority, but have the motivation and the ability to exert significant social influence in the discussion forum. The results suggest that, when attempting to interpret flash mob phenomena, it is important to consider the online behavioral attributes of different types of forum users, instead of merely using aggregated or mean behavioral data.


  • Criminal profiling
  • Discussion forums
  • Flash mob organizers


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Correspondence to Kam-Pui Chow .

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© 2016 IFIP International Federation for Information Processing

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Chan, V., Chow, KP., Chan, R. (2016). Profiling Flash Mob Organizers in Web Discussion Forums. In: Peterson, G., Shenoi, S. (eds) Advances in Digital Forensics XII. DigitalForensics 2016. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol 484. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-46278-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-46279-0

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