WHAT WE DO
At SMaPP, we conduct research in three core areas: (i) the relationship between social media and politics, (ii) innovative methods to use social media data to study politics, and (iii) the development of open-source tools that facilitate the work of others.
Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook
We examine the individual-level characteristics associated with sharing false articles during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. To do so, we uniquely link an original survey with respondents’ sharing activity as recorded in Facebook profile data. First and foremost, we find that sharing this content was a relatively rare activity. Conservatives were more likely to share articles from fake news domains than liberals or moderates. We also find a strong age effect: On average, users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group.
The Internet Research Agency’s Use of Local and Fake News in the 2016 US Presidential Campaign
The NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab analyzed data shared publicly by Twitter on the activity of the Kremlin-linked “Internet Research Agency” (IRA) to examine whether IRA-operated Twitter accounts spread polarizing or misleading content on social media platforms in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Measuring the prevalence of online hate speech, with an application to the 2016 U.S. election
We offer a new approach to measuring the real-time prevalence of online hate, using both context specific data and data produced by a large random sample of users; employing multiple methods of text classification; and measuring not only the volume, but also the proportion, and number of unique users producing it.