Dr. Rachel Gibson, Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester, discusses British political parties’ digital campaigning from websites to social media. We take a longitudinal dive into the development of digital campaigning in the UK, and compare it to campaigning practices in the US. Then, we examine how citizens’ political participation is evolving through their use of digital communication technologies.
Dr. Paul Reilly, Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society at the University of Sheffield, shares his research on the role of social media in protests in Northern Ireland. We first discuss the “Irish Border Question” in relation to Brexit, and then hone in on two demonstrations in Northern Ireland: the union flag protests in 2013 and the Ardoyne parade dispute in 2014. The discussion highlights how much of the contemporary debates around Facebook and Twitter (e.g., disinformation, propaganda, and user privacy) have roots much earlier than the 2016 US election.
The two articles covered in the episode are:
Dr. Jakob Svensson, Associate Professor in Media and Communication at Malmö University, guests to share his research on the logics that drive how digital media operate. We discuss how algorithms and datafication are shaped by developers, and the types of biases that can occur as a result. We also talk about the political implications of artificial intelligence.
The two studies referenced in the episode are:
Study 1 (2015): The Emergence of Network Media Logic in Political Communication: A Theoretical Approach
Study 2 (2018): The End of Media Logics? On Algorithms and Agency
#64: Platform API Lockouts, Occupy Wall Street, and Transnational Activism, with Dr. Dan Mercea and Dr. Shawn Walker
Dr. Dan Mercea, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at City University of London, and Dr. Shawn Walker, Assistant Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences in the New College at Arizona State University, guests to discuss the current state of social media research in an environment where researcher are “Locked Out” of access to platform APIs. We also talk about how social media is used in protest movements, particularly Dr. Walker’s work on Occupy Wall Street and Dr. Mercea’s work on transnational serial activists.
Dr. Marco Bastos, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at City University of London, discusses his research on Twitter bots and botnets in the 2016 Brexit Referendum. We talk about how to identify bots on Twitter, what these bots were sharing, and how the content they share on social media relates to the activity of human users. Later in the episode, we discuss the ethics behind researching bots and whether recent automated account crackdowns by Facebook and Twitter will improve political debates on social media.
The studies we discussed in the episode are:
Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at Lund University, guests to discuss the 2018 Swedish Elections and social media’s role in it. We break down the election results and talk about what it means for Sweden as well as the European Union.
Here are the links to the studies discussed in the episode:
Moe & Larsson’s 2014 study on Swedish politicians’ Facebook use
Jakob Svensson’s study on Swedish campaigning between elections
Kragh & Åsberg’s study on Russian disinformation via Facebook in Sweden
ComProp’s study of “junk news” during the Swedish election
Dr. Nick Anstead, Associate Professor in Media and Communications at the LSE, guests to discuss his new research on British parties’ Facebook ad targeting during the 2017 election. Using a data from the Chrome browser created by Who Targets Me, Dr. Anstead and his team compare the content, tone, personalization, and calls to action used in these ads. We discuss the findings of that study, as well as outline three challenges for academics studying Facebook ad targeting moving forward: the epistemological, the conceptual, and the systematic.
Read the full study here!