Evidence of a coordinated network amplifying inauthentic narratives in the 2020 US election

Coordinated network amplifying inauthentic narratives in the 2020 US election

On 15 September 2020, The Washington Post published an article by Isaac Stanley-Becker titled “Pro-Trump youth group enlists teens in secretive campaign likened to a ‘troll farm,’ prompting rebuke by Facebook and Twitter.” The article reported on a network of accounts run by teenagers in Phoenix, who were coordinated and paid by an affiliate of conservative youth organization Turning Point USA. These accounts posted identical messages amplifying political narratives, including false claims about COVID-19 and electoral fraud. The same campaign was run on Twitter and Facebook, and both platforms suspended some of the accounts following queries from Stanley-Becker. The report was based in part on a preliminary analysis we conducted at the request of The Post. In this brief we provide further details about our analysis.

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UPDATE: BotSlayer tool to expose disinformation networks

Browder disinformation network

We are excited to announce the new v.1.3 of BotSlayer, our OSoMe cloud tool that lets journalists, researchers, citizens, & civil society organizations track narratives and detect potentially coordinated inauthentic information networks on Twitter in real-time. Improvements and new features include better stability, a new alert system, a Mac installer, and many additions to the interface. This version is released in time for those who would like to use BotSlayer to monitor #Election2020 manipulation.

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Knight Fellows

Harry Yanmatt_devernaIndiana University’s Observatory on Social Media, funded in part last year with a $3 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has named two new Knight Fellows. Matthew DeVerna and Harry Yaojun Yan will help advance the center’s ongoing investigations into how information and misinformation spread online. The Observatory on Social Media, or OSoMe (pronounced “awesome”), is a collaboration between CNetS in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and EngineeringThe Media School; and the IU Network Science Institute. Congratulations to Harry and Matt! More…

CNetS @ NetSci 2020

CNetS students, postdocs, and faculty members will give 7 regular talks and present 13 posters at NetSci 2020, held online this year due to COVID-19. Regular talks will cover research on many topics including COVID-19, forecasting social contagion of anti-vax ideas, political bias in social media, coordinated manipulation online, the scientific development of nations, hierarchy in faculty hiring networks, and citation cartels in journals.

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CNetS research featured on PBS

In the groundbreaking new PBS series “NetWorld,” Niall Ferguson visits network theorists, social scientists and data analysts (including at CNetS!) to explore the intersection of social media, technology and the spread of cultural movements. Reviewing classic experiments and cutting-edge research, NetWorld demonstrates how human behavior, disruptive technology and profit can energize ideas and communication, ultimately changing the world.

New texbook from CNetS

The book A First Course in Network Science by CNetS faculty members Filippo Menczer and Santo Fortunato and CNetS PhD graduate Clayton A. Davis was recently published by Cambridge University Press. This textbook introduces the basics of network science for a wide range of job sectors from management to marketing, from biology to engineering, and from neuroscience to the social sciences. Extensive tutorials, datasets, and homework problems provide plenty of hands-on practice. The book has been endorsed as “Rigorous” (Alessandro Vespignani), “comprehensive… indispensable” (Olaf Sporns), “with remarkable clarity and insight” (Brian Uzzi), “accessible” (Albert-László Barabási), “amazing… extraordinary” (Alex Arenas), and “sophisticated yet introductory… an excellent introduction that is also eminently practical” (Stephen Borgatti). It was ranked by Amazon #1 among new releases in physics. More…

CNetS organizing Summer Institute in Network Science

The Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI), jointly with the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University (NetSI) are organizing SINSA 2020, the first Summer Institute in Network Science and its Applications, a two-weeks long school divided into eight teaching modules on major topics of network science, with top instructors, intended for graduate students, practitioners and early-career researchers. Santo Fortunato, CNetS member and IUNI Director, is one of the two chairs of this event, as well as instructor of the module Network Structures. SINSA 2020 will be held in Boston, from June 22 till July 3, 2020. Send your students to this great event!

CNetS leading first international exchange program in network science

Schematic example of multilayer network

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.9 million grant through the new AccelNet program to the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI), to build an international exchange program focused on multilayer networks. Santo Fortunato, CNetS member and IUNI Director, is the PI of this award, jointly with Alessandro Vespignani, representing the Northeastern University Network Science Institute (NetSI). The project, AccelNet-MultiNet, will establish strong collaborations with scientists of four European institutions: the University of Barcelona in Spain, the ISI Foundation in Turin, Italy, the Central European University in Budapest/Vienna, and the CNRS in Marseille, France. Over the course of five years, 20 researchers from IU and Northeastern University, mostly graduate students, will spend a semester in one of the partner institutions in Europe, and 20 researchers from those institutions will do the same in the U.S. They will work on projects of common interest within the scope of multilayer network science. Read more …


CNetS faculty organizing Networks 2021

The Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) will be the main organizer of Networks 2021, the largest ever conference in the science of networks. This historical event will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Washington in Capitol Hill, in Washington DC, on July 6-11, 2021. It will combine the annual meeting of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (Sunbelt XLI), and the annual meeting of the Network Science Society (NetSci 2021). CNetS faculty Santo Fortunato will be one of the two chairs of the conference. Other CNetS faculty will be also actively involved in the organization. Save the date for this great event!