Research Projects & Articles

You can find below some of my ongoing research projects on news, disinformation, social media, politics, and digital culture.

Russian Twitter trolls stoke anti-immigrant lies ahead of Canadian election.

https://theconversation.com/russian-twitter-trolls-stoke-anti-immigrant-lies-ahead-of-canadian-election-119144.


Scant evidence of active Twitter bots as Canadian election nears.

https://theconversation.com/scant-evidence-of-active-twitter-bots-as-canadian-election-nears-123071


An examination of the hashtag #TrudeauMustGo before the 2019 Canadian election

Date: 18 September, 2019

As a follow up to the article above on bots before the 2019 Canadian election, I collected 310,451 tweeted referencing #TrudeauMustGo posted by 13,960 unique users from 20 June until 13 September 2019. The highest number of tweets were on 19 July (n=21,157) followed by 14 August 2019 (n=11,799). The top day is mostly attributed to a “viral” post by a conservative supporter posted on 18 July challenging the claim that this hashtag is caused by bots, while the latter date coincided with news reports on Trudeau’s breaching the conflict of interest law in relation to the SNC-Lavalin issue.

Figure 1 – Frequency of tweets referencing #TrudeauMustGo

Table 1 – The top 20 retweets which include 5 posts referencing bots

No. Retweets Frequency
1. #TrudeauMustGo 22626
2. #trudeaumustgo #notabot 1079
3. #TrudeauMustGo  https://twitter.com/drjacobsrad/status/1152023767377334272 … 474
4. #notabot #trudeaumustgo 460
5. #trudeaumustresign #TrudeauMustGo 390
6. #TrudeauMustGo #TrudeauMustResign 379
7. #TrudeauMustGo #ButtsMustGo 371
8. #TrudeauMustGo #LiberalsMustGo 319
9. #TrudeauMustGo #TrudeauMustGo 249
10. #TrudeauMustGo #Scheer4PM 230
11. #TrudeauMustGo #VotePPC #PPC #PPC2019 #BERNIERNATION #MCGA #Liberals #TheGreatAwakening #Peoplespartyofcanada 216
12. #tRUDEauMustGO! 120
13. #trudeaumustresign #trudeaumustgo #LiberalsMustGo #ButtsMustGo #ProsecuteTrudeau #ObstructionOfJustice 109
14. #TrudeauMustGo  https://twitter.com/SpencerFernando/status/1152989332275224576 … 107
15. #TrudeauMustGo #TrudeauMustGo #TrudeauMustGo 107
16. #TrudeauMustGo #TrudeauMustGoToJail 100
17. #TrudeauMustGo #McKennaMustGo 95
18. #TrudeauMustGo #TrudeauMustGo #notAbot 92
19. #TrudeauMustGo #NotABot #PrisonersLikeButts #FlushTheTurd 91
20. #buttsmustgo #trudeaumustgo 78

The bots examination of all the users (n=13,960), which lasted 5 days to complete, shows the following results. First, it was not possible to get the scores of 61 accounts either because they were private, blocked, or deleted. From the remaining 13,899 accounts, there were only 520 accounts that scored 3.5 and above which increases their likelihood of being bots, constituting about 3.5% of the total accounts (Botometer calculates scores ranging between 0 for humans and 5 for bots). To conclude, the vast majority of Twitter users who referenced #TrudeauMustGo are humans and only a very few number of users seem to act like bots.   


Social Network Analysis of #CDNpoli most mentioned users


426,830 tweets referencing #CDNpoli were collected using SFU-TCAT platform which were posted by 78,678 unique users from July 2 to September 24, 2019. Here is a detailed PDF file containing references to these users. The bigger the bubble means the more frequent mentions. Andrew Sheer comes first as the most mentioned user followed by cpc_hq (Conservative Party) and then Justin Trudeau.