Latest Research

Weekly Misinformation Briefings

30 November 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

We provide weekly misinformation briefings. We will be posting all briefings to this page, so check back regularly for our latest research. The weekly briefings presented here were previously coronavirus-focused, and can be found at this page...

“Anything that causes chaos”: The organizational behavior of RT

28 September 2020

Academic Articles

RT (formerly, Russia Today) is one of the most important organizations in the global political economy of disinformation. It is the most richly funded, well-staffed, formal organization in the world producing, disseminating, and marketing news in the service of the Kremlin. It is an agency accused of many things, but little is known about all the creative work involved in financing, governing, training, and motivating RT’s activities. To understand more about the production of political news and information by RT, we investigate its organizational behavior through in-depth interviews of current and former staff. Our data show that RT is an opportunist channel that is used as an instrument of state defense policy to meddle in the politics of other states. The channel has been established in the shadows of the Soviet media system and its organizational behavior is characterized by Soviet-style controls...

Covid-related misinformation on YouTube: The spread of misinformation videos on social media and the effectiveness of platform policies

18 September 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

For this memo, we identified all Covid-related videos which circulated on social media, but which YouTube eventually removed because they contained false information. Between October, 2019 and June, 2020 there were 8,105 such videos – less than 1% of all YouTube videos about the coronavirus. We find that:..

Report front cover

Follow the Money: How the Online Advertising Ecosystem Funds COVID-19 Junk News and Disinformation

3 August 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

As people around the world turn towards search engines to access information about COVID-19, it is important to understand why and how users are being exposed to junk news content. In this memo, we examine the role of search engines and their optimization processes in directing traffic towards junk news & disinformation about COVID-19, and how these sites, in turn, monetize that traffic through digital advertising. We ask:..

Report front cover

Junk News Distribution on Telegram: The Visibility of English-language News Sources on Public Telegram Channels

20 July 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

Messaging platforms such as Telegram are key channels for the dissemination of misinformation and junk news. So far there are very few large-scale studies of how news and political content circulates on these platforms. We use a large open access dataset to analyze which English-language news sources are prevalent on public Telegram channels, the scale of their audience and how information spreads on the platform. Our key results are:..

Covid-19 News and Information from State-Backed Outlets Targeting French, German and Spanish-Speaking Social Media Users

29 June 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

In this data memo, we examine French, German and Spanish-language distribution of coronavirus (COVID-19) news and information originating from media outlets backed by the governments of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey. We measure the total distribution networks of these state-backed media outlets on Facebook and Twitter, and compare how social media users are engaging with that content. Over the three-week period of this study, we find that:..

Report first page

Coronavirus News and Information on YouTube: A Content Analysis of Popular Search Terms

17 April 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

Social media is reshaping how people access information about the coronavirus crisis. The online video-sharing website YouTube has emerged as a major purveyor of health and wellbeing information. In this memo, we examine the nature and structural properties of a sample of 320 YouTube videos related to the coronavirus outbreak. We find that:..