Researching the Evolving Online Ecosystem: Annex

Authors: Jakob Guhl, Oliver Marsh and Henry Tuck
Published: 21 July 2022

“Researching the Evolving Online Ecosystem: Barriers, Methods and Future Challenges” outlines the findings from the initial scoping phase of a project supported by a grant from Omidyar Network and launched by ISD and CASM Technology to identify online spaces used by extremist, hate and disinformation actors and communities as they increasingly move away from mainstream social media platforms. The report outlines the key barriers posed by these platforms to researching and mitigating harmful content and behaviours, and reviews existing research methodologies and tools to address these barriers. Finally, the report presents possible future scenarios for the evolving online ecosystem, and proposes a series of initial recommendations for policymakers, platforms and the research community.

The Annex discusses ethical, legal and security risks to digital research. It outlines how ethical approaches to online research have developed and considers how approaches differ across different sectors that engage in digital research. After describing some of the legal pitfalls surrounding digital research and data collection, it discusses ISD’s considerations for a range of data collection approaches and different types of online platforms that are especially relevant when researching “adversarial” online communities (e.g. violent extremists). It lastly presents a series of approaches and tools to mitigate these types of risks, including best practices for cyber-security, “digital hygiene” and Operational Security (OPSEC).

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La France divisée par la pandémie : panorama de la désinformation en amont des élections de 2022

Ce rapport présente les conclusions d’un travail de recherche concernant la diffusion de désinformation et de mésinformation en amont des élections présidentielles françaises de 2022. Il offre, à travers une analyse qualitative et une cartographie de communautés sur les réseaux sociaux, un état des lieux des acteurs propageant de la désinformation et des discours polarisants avant le scrutin présidentiel en avril 2022.