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Analysing state-backed disinformation social media with Alexa Pavliuc

“These fake accounts are not bots but people in an office and we often forget that.”

Alexandra Pavliuc is a social network analyst, whose research on disinformation operations has been published by NATO Defense Strategic Communications and funded by the Mozilla Foundation. Findings from her research have been disseminated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Engineering & Technology Magazine, and The Startup.

Alexandra has collaborated with government bodies to develop disinformation research tools, and teaches data science for Decoded in London. Alexandra holds an MSc in Data Science from City, University of London, as well as a BA in Professional Communication and a Minor in Physics from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.


Show highlights

1:13 Alexa introduces herself and her main focus areas in social network analysis.

2:06 Alexa introduces the research she carried out looking at state-backed disinformation operations on the Twitter platform.

5:28 Alexa provides a description on what disinformation in social media means

8:27 Comparing the datasets from six different state-backed disinformation operations.

15:07 Are the social networks more open with sharing data and information with third-party analysts?

17:33 Describing the Internet Research Agency.

20:55 Which countries are the most sophisticated when it comes to influence operations.

23:55 China’s use of Twitter accounts during the Hong Kong protests.

27:47 The growing industry of social network analysis for disinformation campaigns.

32:38 The one book Alexa recommends everyone should read.


Resources/people/articles mentioned in the podcast

Alexa’s Twitter research – medium.com

Alexa on Twitter – @APavliuc

Alexa on LinkedIn – linkedin.com

Columbian Chemicals Plant explosion hoax – wikipedia.org

Twitter shuts Chinese accounts targeting Hong Kong protests – apnews.com

The Global Disinformation Order: 2019 Global Inventory of Organised Social Media Manipulation – oc.ac.uk


Alex’s book recommendation

How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict
How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict
  • Hardcover Book
  • Jankowicz, Nina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

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