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Stories, investigations and guest discussions around the issues of disinformation and computational propaganda.

Stories, investigations and guest discussions around the issues of disinformation and computational propaganda.
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Stories, investigations and guest discussions around the issues of disinformation and computational propaganda.




Where we go one, we go crazy - a beginners guide to the #QAnon conspiracy

As conspiracy theories go, QAnon is more than just a classic of the genre. It provides a strong narrative arc that stands as a grand unifying conspiracy theory. Complete with its own language and strongly participatory social structure. There’s something for everyone, in the world of QAnon. QAnon would be little more than an entertaining internet story, were it not for the way it tends to leak into the real world - often with violent consequences. Image credit - Ryan McGuire (@BellsDesign)...


Game on! Quantified motivation & value capture: things we don't notice in online social life

There’s a lot more going on in the hellspace we know as social media than we necessarily notice. But it takes a philosopher to figure some of it out. This episode features the thoughts of Thi Nguyen, a philosophy academic at Utah Valley University. An essay by Thi went viral in early 2018 - ‘Escape The Echo Chamber’ - published in Aeon. I recommend reading this before listening to the podcast, to best appreciate the jumping off point for this discussion. Photo by Ken Treloar on...


Ya basta! - a conversation with Erin Gallagher on digital information pollution in Latin America

In this episode Erin Gallagher offers a view of digital information pollution around Latin America. Fake Twitter - Honduran style (Pic credit: Erin Gallagher) Find Erin Gallagher on Medium here. Follow 3r1nG on Twitter. My argument that disinformation is a demand-side problem can be found here. Links for more detail on issues and stories mentioned in the audio: Latin America (general): How to hack an election (Andres Sepulveda):...


#Moggmentum & #FreeTommy busted - plus the power of digital sleuthing

In episode 10 John & Mike discuss the Digital Sherlocks 360/OS conference staged by The Atlantic Council and lift the lid on the #Moggmentum & #FreeTommy hash tags. Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash Show notes: John's reflections on the #DigitalSherlocks 360/OS conference The Bellingcat case study 'Finding Bana'...


Follow Bot Pro EU

In this episode John and Mike discuss the problem of hyper partisan social media activity and the bot-like characteristics of some actors in the 'Follow Back Pro EU' or #FBPE movement on Twitter. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash Show notes Mentionmapp's observations and notes (listen to audio for explanations). Number of maps - 13 total Feb 5, 6, 7, x 3 Feb 8, 9, x 2 2600 total tweets 698 unique profiles - at least 1 tweet Selected those profiles who appeared in 2 or more maps =...


Trust me, I'm an influencer

In this episode Mike and John discuss the pernicious use of paid-for social signals by non-political actors. Many entrepreneurs and those who wish to be perceived as influential use fake approval markers such as likes and shares from fictitious social accounts. We identify a number of risks that come with this kind of gaming of social platforms, including possible reputational damage to real people caused by account hijacking. Also the increased risk of spreading malware infections, when...


Rhizome theory, Remainers and news pollution

In this episode John introduces Mike to Rhizome theory in relation to the information structures of the internet as a "uniquely distributed network with no centre and a uniquely changing form" - and the challenges that presents to dealing with information pollution. Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash An introduction to Rhizome theory can be seen here. This article on Russia's outsourcing of propaganda content is referenced in the discussion. Russia's troll factory also paid for 100...


'Look over there!' How the social media giants got a free pass on Twitter during the #techhearings

In this episode Mike and John discuss how the conversation on Twitter unfolded around the appearances of Google, Facebook and Twitter at the so-called 'tech hearings' before representatives of Congress and the Senate in the United States. They conclude that because so much focus was on 'Trump-Russia' rather than the role of the platforms themselves, the social media giants are getting a free pass on their position as aids to weaponised disinformation. Show notes & links: Zachary Elwood -...


Episode 5 - fighting for truth in a post-fake news world - interviews from Misinfocon

Fake news may have reached the mainstream, as a story, but experts in the field of combating disinformation are now thinking far beyond that. In this episode we catch up with delegates and presenters at the Misinfocon event, held in London in October, to hear about some of the latest developments aimed at fixing a 'post-truth' information environment.


Episode 4 - Uber and the Taxibots

Is the London taxi trade waging a sophisticated propaganda war against Uber? Mike Hind and John Gray discuss evidence of bots and automated amplification by Twitter accounts identifying as London cabbies.


Episode 1 - setting the scene for a journey into fake

Now available on iTunes here The Disinformation Podcast begins with an introduction to John Gray, co-founder of the Twitter network visualisation tool Mentionmapp Analytics. Over time, John and me will be taking a closer look at the gaming of social media platforms - and Twitter in particular - by the purveyors of false information and creators of fake online personas. In this first episode we set the scene for our future work and I give a heads up on a story that will unfold over time....