The DemoRESILdigital Team was a guest at the Kardinal-von-Galen-Gymnasium in Hilrup. During a study day Dr. Lena Frischlich, Lena Adam and Felix Brinkschulte together with Dr. Christian Grimme, Dr. Friederike Hendricks, Dr. Katherine Engelke and Laura Badura were available to the students as experts on the topic “The new power of digital media”. In six different workshops on topics such as fake news, social bots, hate speech and extremist propaganda, the students learned how to deal with manipulative content in digital media. In a concluding panel discussion, the topic was also examined from a socio-political and ethical point of view by discussing the opportunities and risks of digital media and pointing out consequences, for example for journalistic work or the responsibility of each individual. A newspaper article about the study day can be read here.
On the occasion of the “Safe Internet Day 2019”, Dr. Lena Frischlich was interviewed by the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on the subject of hate in user comments. In addition to the classification of different forms of hate and possible reasons why hateful comments are published, the focus was on the handling of hate in user comments. In particular, the effectiveness of countermeasures such as counter speech or the implementation of an obligation to use clear names in social networks was discussed. The full article can be read here.
Facebook and Instagram are opening up access to CrowdTangle to academics and the research community. We are pleased to anounce that DemoRESILdigital has been selected for academic access to public data on Facebook and Instagram by CrowdTangle within Facebook’s transparency initiative.
We are pleased that three of our submissions will be presented at the 69th Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference in Washington D.C.:
- Brinkschulte, F., Becker, M., Frischlich, L. (2019): “Experimental Evidence Concerning the Effects of Disinformation on the Democratic Process”.
- Frischlich, L., Wintterlin, F., Schatto-Eckrodt, T., Boberg, S., Adam, L. (2019): “Who is Affected by the Disinformation Order? Predicting the Exposure to Distorted Information Prior to the Parliamentary Election in Germany”.
- Wintterlin, F., Frischlich, L., Boberg, S., Schatto-Eckrodt, T., Reer, F., Quandt, T. (2019): “Corrective Actions in the Information Disorder. Presumed Influence and the Countering of Distorted Information”.
For a radio feature Felix Brinkschulte was a guest at the radio station Bayrischer Rundfunk. In an interview with Beate Meierfrankenfeld, he talked about rumours, misinformation and disinformation in the online world. In addition to the distinction between rumour and defamation, the discussion focus on how such challenges can be counteracted. The podcast can be downloaded here.
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.