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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…

New $6 million center will investigate media and technology in society

Indiana University will establish a $6 million research center to study the role of media and technology in society. With leadership by CNetS faculty, the Observatory on Social Media will investigate how information and misinformation spread online. It will also provide students, journalists and citizens with resources, data and training to identify and counter attempts to intentionally manipulate public opinion. Major support for the center comes from the  John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will contribute $3 million, as well as funds from the university. The center is a collaboration between the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, The Media School and the IU Network Science Institute. More…