Disinformation briefing: Narratives around Black Lives Matter and voter fraud

Published: 27th October 2020
Authors: Cooper Gatewood and Ciarán O’Connor

In collaboration with Politico, ISD undertook research to understand online discussions around the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the issue of voter fraud ahead of the US Presidential election in November 2020. 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.

In order to gain as broad an understanding as possible of online discussions around these themes, ISD gathered publicly accessible data from five prominent social media platforms and forums: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and 4chan.

See the Politico investigation here

Cooper Gatewood is a Manager within ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit, focussing on quantitative research into the spread of hateful and polarising narratives online, and how they are leveraged by extremist actors. Cooper also develops monitoring and evaluation frameworks to measure the impact of a number of ISD’s intervention projects. Cooper is currently contributing to ISD’s research on disinformation campaigns, particularly those aimed to influence and disrupt election processes.

Ciarán O’Connor is an Analyst on ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit with expertise on the far-right and disinformation environment online. Ciaran has an MSc in Political Communication Science from the University of Amsterdam, speaks some Irish and French, and is learning Dutch.