Digital Research Unit


ISD’s digital analysis unit has built a leading real-time capability to identify and analyse malign online communications. The Digital Research Unit combines ISD’s expertise and suite of data analytics capabilities to map and analyse networks promoting polarising and extremist content across fringe platforms, large platforms and media ecosystems online.

The Unit delivers three stages of ongoing work to help map and understand malign communications: the identification of relevant content, accounts and networks, through expert insights and ethnographic monitoring; the analysis of online strategies, campaigns and tactics; and the evaluation of the outcomes or impacts of those online activities on wider trends in polarisation and extremism.

The Digital Research Unit takes a cross-sectoral perspective on malicious uses of technology, investigating the intersection of different types of malign communication. This includes a stream of work exposing the connections between disinformation, extremist networks and election interference efforts across Europe. ISD’s research supports governments, technology companies and civil society groups to shape proportional and effective policies and responses to online harms.


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