Together with Svenja Boberg and Thorsten Quandt, Dr. Lena Frischlich published the paper “Comment Sections as Targets of Dark Participation? Journalists’ Evaluation and Moderation of Deviant User Comments” in the journal “Journalism Studies”. User comments, as the most prominent form of participation in online journalism, offer multiple options for so-called dark participation, comments that transgress norms of politeness or honesty with partially sinister motives. The study focuses on how media actors perceive this challenge and how they react to it, especially with regard to strategic manipulation attempts. Based on a series of guided interviews (N = 25), the researchers examined the experiences of community managers with dark participation in German newspaper sites. The qualitative analysis of the content of the interviews identified four types of comment section managers, ranging from unconcerned gatekeepers to relaxed gate-watchers, alarmed guards, and struggling fighters.
The paper can be downloaded here.
As part of the public lecture series “Beautiful new world? Digitization as an interdisciplinary challenge”, organized by the contact point “Studium im Alter” of the University of Münster, Dr. Lena Frischlich gave a lecture on the topic “Manipulations in the Internet – staging and effect of online propaganda”.
The Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum grants an expert-workshop on “Ethical questions in empirical (de-)radicalization research – bridging online and offline” (11. and 12.03.2019) to Lena Frischlich together with Dr. Kerstin Eppert (Principal host, Institute for Conflict and Violence Research, University of Bielefeld), Dr. Nicole Bögelein (Criminology, University of Cologne), Dr. Melanie Reddig (Sociology, University of Düsseldorf), Dr. Nadine Jukschat (Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony), and Dr. Anja Schmidt-Kleinert (Political Science, University of Marburg). The workshop brings together researchers and experts across disciplines and research projects and from different European countries to discuss pressing questions emerging from the empirical study of (de-)radicalization. Topics range from the discussion of challenges and good practices for the safety and protection of researchers and participants, over questions regarding privacy, data collection and data management, and the challenging exchange with security partners up to discussion the risk to reproduce extremist narratives and share extremists’ messages, also in the context of open science.
Together with Svenja Boberg, Tim Schatto-Eckrott and Thorsten Quandt, Lena Frischlich published the article “The moral gatekeeper? Moderation and deletion of user-generated content in a leading news forum” in the journal Media and Communication. The study examines user comments (including all incoming and rejected comments) of the largest newspaper forum in Germany (Spiegel Online) in terms of the moderation decision, the topic addressed, and the use of insulting language using automated content analysis. The analyses revealed that the deletion of user comments is a frequently used moderation strategy. Overall, more than one-third of comments studied were rejected. Further, users mostly engaged with political topics. The usage of swear words was not a reason to block a comment, except when offenses were used in connection with politically sensitive topics. Finally, the results are discussed with regard to the need for journalists to develop consistent and transparent moderation strategies.
We welcome Lena Adam as new colleague in our team. From now on she works as a research assistant in the junior research group DemoRESILdigital.
In October, Lena Frischlich was invited to present scientific insights into the interplay of disinformation, fear, and radicalization at the European Strategic Communications Network Thematic Event on “The Disinformation Challenge, a CVE strategic communications perspective”.
Between September 15th and 20th the German Association for Psychology (DGPS) met at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt (a.M.) to discuss state-of-the-art research in psychology. Since 2016, the DGPS hosts so-called hot-topic sessions, Keynotes and symposia in which pressing topics and current questions of the field are discussed. This year, DemoRESILdigital team member Lena Frischlich presented in two of these hot-topics tackling the core questions of the research group: Fake news and Populism and Radicalization. In the invited fake news symposium, she presented a study together with Felix Brinkschulte and Martin Becker addressing the experimental effects of distorted articles published in the right-wing alternative media. In the self-organized symposium on societal, social, and individual influences on radicalization, she presented data collected with the PropStop Team (Svenja Boberg, Tim Schatto-Eckrodt, Florian Winterrlin, & Thorsten Quandt) showing how distorted information, political emotions and societal trust interactively influence voting intentions.
In a few weeks, the article “Gefälschte Nachrichten, gefälschte Nutzer. Wie gefährlich sind Fake News und Social Bots?” written by Tim Schatto-Eckrodt, Svenja Boberg, Lena Frischlich and Thorsten Quandt will be published in the journal Politikum. As part of the issue “Smart Democracy” the article focuses the meaning of Fake News and Social Bots in the context of populism. Next to the definition of terms, the authors question also the spread and effectiveness of these current phenomena and discuss potential implications.
Felix Brinkschulte gave a lecture with the title “Disinformation in times of digital media” at the association “Bürgernetz” in Münster. He talked about Fake News as a current phenomenon and discussed definitions and particularly the functioning of political disinformation in times of digital media. In addition he exemplified potential risks, but also highlights opportunities for users in the digital world.
A new (German) bookchapter by Lena Frischlich discusses online-propaganda as multilevel phenomenon and highlights the need to stage the staging and effects of propaganda on the level of individuals, social groups and the digital society. The book can be downloaded here.
Frischlich (2018): Propaganda³. Einblicke in die Inszenierung und Wirkung von Online-Propaganda auf der Mikro-Meso-Makro Ebene. In K.Sach-Hornbach & B. Zywitz. Fake news, Hashtags, und Social Bots: Neue Methoden populistischer Propaganda.