Ray Serrato, Social Media Analyst at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, discusses how social media data is used in the context of human rights violations. Ray breaks down the attacks against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, and we discuss the role of social media in these attacks. Lastly, we talk about what the closing down of social media APIs means for future human rights work.
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:
Søren Pedersen, a Danish software developer working for Extra Bladet, joins the podcast to discuss his project uspolads.com. Søren used web scraping technology to build a website that presents data from the Facebook political ad archive ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections. We talk about Søren’s motivations in building uspolads, as well as discuss some his previous work using Facebook and Twitter data to reveal insights about politics and tech addiction.
Click here to check out the official Facebook Ad Archive.
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!
Tom Lillywhite, founder of Wilder Digital and the digital campaigning tool ‘Pack‘, joins the podcast to discuss how political campaigns and organizations can mobilize supporters to increase organic reach on social media. We discuss how crowdsourcing ardent supporters can increase organic reach on Facebook and Twitter, as well as how Pack is currently being used for advocacy groups and the Camden Labour Party.
Craig Dwyer, co-founder of the Transparent Referendum Initiative, discusses targeted Facebook advertising ahead of the Irish constitutional referendum about abortion on May 25th. The TRI collects “dark” Facebook posts and is building an openly accessible database of targeted political ads. We discuss some of the major issues surrounding the referendum, the difficulties in discerning when a Facebook ad is “political,” and targeted political advertising on other platforms like Google and Youtube.
The Medium post mentioned in the episode.
ForaChange: Craig’s digital campaigning toolkit.
Simon Day, co-founder of Apptivism, discusses how chatbots are used to increase civic engagement. By interacting with a chatbot on Facebook Messenger, citizens can give their opinion on policies from their computers or smartphones. Policymakers can then analyze the data from chatbot interactions to better shape policy. Simon breaks down how these chatbots work and describes how Apptivism is helping governments use this new technology.
#42: WhatsApp-ening in the Netherlands? Social media, GroenLinks, and the 2018 Dutch Local Elections, with Hanneke Bruinsma
Hanneke Bruinsma, local politician for the green party GroenLinks in the Netherlands, joins the show to discuss how her party is using social media in the upcoming Dutch municipal elections. We discuss how GroenLinks party members in the Overbetuwe municipality are using Facebook and Twitter to campaign, and in particular we focus on WhatsApp as a new medium to encourage activism – or “Apptivism” – among local residents.
Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Assistant Professor in European Studies and Lund University, returns to the podcast to recap the biggest trends in social media and politics from 2017. We discuss social media’s transnationalization potential, the most shared content this year on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as phishing cyberattacks and chatbots.