Sociology Seminar: 'Political Astroturfing on Social Media: How to Coordinate a Disinformation Campaign'
|Dates:||13 November 2019|
|Times:||14:00 - 15:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Current University students|
The next Sociology seminar is given by David Schoch, University of Manchester.
At the very latest since the Russian Internet Research Agency’s (IRA) intervention in the U.S. presidential election, scholars and the broader public have become wary of coordinated disinformation campaigns. These hidden activities aim to deteriorate the public’s trust in electoral institutions or the government’s legitimacy, and can exacerbate political polarization. But unfortunately, academic and public debates on the topic are haunted by conceptual ambiguities, and rely on few memorable examples, epitomized by the often cited “social bots” who are accused of having tried to influence public opinion in various contemporary political events.
The talk focuses on "political astroturfing", a particular form of centrally coordinated disinformation campaigns in which participants pretend to be ordinary citizens acting independently. 10 different campaigns across the world are presented. Using the principal-agent framework, I illustrate that all campaigns inevitably leave traces of coordination which can be used to uncover ongoing campaigns, outperforming sophisticated bot detection algorithms.
Organisation: Sociology, University of Manchester
Travel and Contact Information
Arthur Lewis Building