Monitoring of propaganda and misinformation on social media networks
The main focus of the project is to monitor propaganda and disinformation activities on online social media networks with the objectives of mobilisation, polarisation and political destabilisation in Portugal, regardless of the origin of these activities.
Throughout the project period, which corresponds to a moment of great political activity in Portugal, marked by three elections (European, Regional - Madeira and Legislative), an attempt was made to identify and analyse organised movements, political party’s related or not, of propaganda and disinformation with the aim of influencing the informed participation of citizens in the elections.
Social network analysis methodologies and tools (i.e. Crimson Hexagon, Netvizz, Google Trends, etc.) will be used to identify, transversally and longitudinally, messages and information dissemination networks with malicious objectives and their international relationships, with special attention to the relations between populist movements and their sharing of messages of misinformation ("fake news").
The final objective is to identify messages, protagonists and channels of disinformation that seek to influence political discourse through the main public online social media networks (Facebook, Twitter and Youtube).
The project also aims to contribute to the warning and prevention of the dissemination of malicious propaganda, collaborating with journalistic projects to develop and disseminate the results of research.
Regarding WhatsApp, as it involves the integration of public access groups via an access link, it is expected to replicate the methodology used by Resende et al (2019) that addressed the same phenomenon in Brazilian elections. The anonymization of the personal data of the participants of the groups (phone number, photo and other information associated with the profile) will be made in the collection process, thus not integrating the analysis of the results. This anonymisation of the data in the collection process will be transversal to all the platforms included in this project.
This project is developed in collaboration and partnership with Diário de Notícias.