This report examines the nature and scale of COVID-19 vaccine mis- and disinformation among Arabic-language communities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on Facebook. Included is a case study analysing the output of a dubious disinformation hub that masquerades as a think tank as well as detailed findings on leading trends within vaccine misinformation communities in MENA.
This case study examines two websites and two blogging accounts which appear to be linked to News Front, a Crimean-based news organisation previously accused of being a source of pro-Kremlin disinformation and influence operations. While the impact of the site’s activity is low, the case study provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the broader disinformation ecosystem and sheds light on the long tail of state-linked online assets.
Fostering Civic Responses to Online Harms: Learnings from the Online Civil Courage Initiative and the Online Civic Fund
This report reviews the impact of the Online Courage Civic Initiative and Online Civic Fund in 2019, demonstrating how effective civil society actors can be when provided with the necessary resources and platform. Our overview shows the significant impact that civil society can have in countering hate online and offline, providing key learnings, inspiring similar initiatives and demonstrating the ways the civil sector can co-ordinate long term.
This report is a collaboration between the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the nonpartisan news-rating organisation NewsGuard. It analyses QAnon-related contents on Facebook during a period of increased activity, just before the platform implemented moderation of public contents spreading the conspiracy theory.
The report outlines an investigation by ISD into a series of Facebook groups and pages exhibiting suspicious, potentially coordinated and inauthentic activity. The report illustrates how spam-like networks on Facebook can be used to distribute potentially harmful content across the platform at scale.
Crisis and Loss of Control: German-Language Digital Extremism in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This report analyses the networks and narratives of German-speaking far-right, far-left and Islamist extremist actors on mainstream and alternative social media platforms and extremist websites in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results show: Extremists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been able to increase their reach since the introduction of the lockdown measures.
This research briefing explores if and how far-right narratives from the United States, France and Germany gain traction in domestic mainstream media, or move across borders between the US on the one hand, and France and Germany on the other. It tests whether far-right ideas start out in far-right alternative media but eventually move to the mainstream and whether far-right ideas spread between national media ecosystems.
The Interplay Between Australia’s Political Fringes on the Right and Left: Online Messaging on Facebook
This research briefing outlines findings from an analysis of the far-right and far-left Facebook ecosystem in Australia in the first seven months of 2020. It analyses how the far-right and far-left discuss each other on Facebook and how narratives about the other side of the political spectrum shape the online activity of these groups. It also seeks to understand how central discussion about the ‘other side’ is to the far-right and far-left and how it fits within the broader online activities of these movements.
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.
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.