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Hoodwinked: Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Facebook

This briefing provides an overview of ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ (CIB) on Facebook. It reviews the information made public on CIB through Facebook’s own reporting between July 2018 and July 2020, assessing the scale of CIB across Facebook and Instagram, the profit Facebook has made from it and the intricacies of the networks themselves. Ahead of the US presidential elections, this briefing highlights the persistent threat of ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ on Facebook, reviewing the information made public through Facebook’s own reporting.

Bankrolling Bigotry: An overview of the Online Funding Strategies of American Hate Groups

Hatred is surging across the United States, threatening the safety, security and wellbeing of minority communities, and societal harmony writ large. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and Global Disinformation Index (GDI) have analysed the digital footprints of 73 US-based hate groups, assessing the extent to which they used 54 online funding mechanisms.

Disinformation briefing: Narratives around Black Lives Matter and voter fraud

This short briefing details the methodology and key findings of a study conducted jointly by the ISD team and Politico. Leveraging data from across social media platforms, this investigation seeks to understand online discussions around the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the issue of voter fraud ahead of the US Presidential election. The research was designed to shed light on the volume and nature of disinformation related to these two issues online and how this disinformation may be weaponised to attempt to influence attitudes ahead of the election.

QAnon and Conspiracy Beliefs

The findings from this study provide important context for understanding the relationship between QAnon and the broader problem of conspiracy theory beliefs. A majority of Americans know nothing about QAnon and fewer than one-in-ten have a favorable view toward it; yet, a majority of those who recognize and believe in QAnon conspiracy theories are not QAnon supporters (most said they had not even heard of QAnon).

Public Figures, Public Rage: Candidate abuse on social media

This report presents the findings of our research into the scale of online abuse targeting Congressional candidates in the 2020 US election. We found that women and candidates from an ethnic minority background are more likely to receive abusive content on mainstream social media platforms. It provides recommendations and next steps which should be taken by technology companies and policymakers to protect candidates who are more likely to be targeted online and receive abusive content.

Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media

This briefing paper examines the extent to which Holocaust denial content is readily accessible across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube. This paper also demonstrates how appropriately applied content moderation policies can be effective in denying dangerous conspiracy theorists a public platform by examining how Holocaust denial content has decreased significantly in the past year on YouTube.

Developing a Civil Society Response to Online Manipulation

This document presents a vision for a pan-civil societal response to online manipulation. In part, it argues, this will come down to capability: building a pooled detection capacity to function as a transparent, public interest alter­native to those built by the tech giants. In part, it will require new organisational philosophies and forms of co-operation, and in part new approaches to funding and support.

The 101 of Disinformation Detection

Disinformation can threaten the activities, objectives and individuals associated with civil society groups and their work. This toolkit lays out an approach that organisations can undertake to begin to track online disinformation on subjects that they care about. The process is intended to have a very low barrier to entry, with each stage achievable using either over-the-counter or free-to-use social media analysis tools.

Political Monopoly: How Europe’s New Authoritarians Stifle Democracy and Get Away With it

"Political Monopoly: How Europe’s New Authoritarians Stifle Democracy and Get Away With it" is a new analysis of how Europe’s new authoritarians in Hungary, Poland and elsewhere consolidate power while maintaining a democratic facade. Comparing them to economic monopolies, it proposes a framework of “political anti-trust” to restore competitive politics.