Event Host: Mershon Center for International Security Studies and the Translational Data Analytics Institute
Short Description: Joshua A. Tucker, professor of politics at New York University, will discuss how he has analyzed links shared by Russian social media trolls seeking to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. He asses the types of content to which trolls were linking, the ideological slant of this content, and whether following the sharing of hyperlinks could be a digital forensic technique for identifying online coordinated influence campaigns in the future.
Russia’s Internet Research Agency’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election by the use of paid humans running fake social media accounts – known as “trolls” – is by now well documented, thanks to the release of collections of troll content by social media platforms. For additional insights, we examine the hyperlinks shared by these troll accounts to assess: (1) the types of content to which IRA trolls were linking; (2) the ideological slant of this content, and, correspondingly, the troll accounts; and (3) whether we can use cross-platform patterns in sharing of hyperlinks as a digital forensic technique for identifying online coordinated influence campaigns in the future. The implications for understanding online coordinated influence campaigns in the 2020 U.S. election will be discussed.
Joshua A. Tucker is professor of politics, affiliated professor of Russian and Slavic studies, and affiliated professor of data science at New York University. He is the director of NYU’s Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia, a co-director of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics and the SMaPP laboratory, and a co-author/editor of the award-winning politics and policy blog The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post. He is interested in mass political behavior, the intersection of social media and politics and the use of social media data to study politics. His research has appeared in over two-dozen scholarly journals, his most recent book is Communism’s Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes (Princeton University Press, 2017), and he is the co-editor of the forthcoming Social Media and Democracy: A State of the Field (Cambridge University Press, 2020).