Reports and Public Scholarship

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Coronavirus Coverage by State-Backed English-Language News Sources

9 April 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

In this data memo, we examine the distribution of health-related news and information on social media of the English-language news outlets backed by the governments of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey. We measure the social distribution networks used on Twitter and Facebook and the levels of engagement with content related to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the two-week period of this study, we find that:..

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The Challenges of Monitoring Social Media in the Arab World: The Case of the 2019 Tunisian Elections

23 March 2020

Working Papers & Data Memos

Tunisian civil society groups raised alarms about the spread of disinformation and hate speech during the 2019 elections. These concerns centered around the legal and technical obstacles faced by Tunisian civil society actors monitoring elections on social media. We interviewed civil society leaders and digital rights activists in Tunisia to learn about the kinds of limitations they encountered when observing the Tunisian elections. We conclude that: (1) Tunisian civil society groups were concerned about the spread of disinformation online but efforts to monitor social media were limited and not coordinated between groups; (2) the Facebook ad library was of limited use to Tunisian observers because the library does not archive electoral or political ads in Tunisia; (3) the limited access to Facebook data was a significant obstacle for Tunisian social media observers, leading them to rely upon manual data gathering, and compounded by the unavailability of data collection tools such as CrowdTangle to many civil society groups; (4) Tunisian laws around data privacy and election regulations are insufficient for a democratic society in the digital age...

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Industry responses to computational propaganda and social media manipulation

22 November 2019

Working Papers & Data Memos

What have Internet companies done to combat the creation and spread of computational propaganda on their platforms and services? What do the leading players’ initiatives tell us about their coping strategies? How are their actions supported by the companies’ terms and policies for users and advertisers? And have there been any substantial policy changes as a result of the proliferation of computational propaganda? We examined platform initiatives and terms of service agreements of six Internet companies (Facebook, Google and YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Twitter) and found:..

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OxTEC: Elections, technology and political campaigning in the United Kingdom

16 October 2019

Working Papers & Data Memos

OxTEC’s final report, by Phil Howard and Lisa-Maria Neudert, sets out a series of recommendations aimed at securing the information infrastructure of elections and creating a trusted environment for the democratic use of technology. The report highlights areas for immediate action for policymakers, political parties, industry and civil society and also sets out short-term and long-term recommendations...

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OxTEC: Literature review on elections, political campaigning and democracy

25 September 2019

Working Papers & Data Memos

Oxford Technology and Elections Commission (OxTEC) have released a literature review looking at how scholars have theorized the influence of digital technology on democracy. The report summarizes scholarly texts on a few key topics: political communication theory in a digital age, surveillance and privacy, algorithms and bias, the attention economy, and historical thought concerning information environments...

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OxTEC: A report on anti-disinformation initiatives

22 August 2019

Working Papers & Data Memos

Oxford Technology and Elections Commission (OxTEC) has released their first report, written and researched by BBC Monitoring’s specialist Disinformation Team. The report investigates fake news landscapes around the world and analyses a range of measures adopted by governments to combat disinformation. The analysis provides geopolitical context with timely, relevant examples from 19 countries in four continents (with a particular focus on European nations)...

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