‘COORDINATED INAUTHENTIC BEHAVIOUR’ AND OTHER ONLINE INFLUENCE OPERATIONS IN SOCIAL MEDIA SPACES
Recently, major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have announced efforts to counter "coordinated inauthentic behaviour." However, scholarly research continues to provide evidence that coordinated human and automated accounts covertly seek to undermine and manipulate public debates on these platforms. Given the difficulties in obtaining data from these platforms to study these influence operations, and the significant challenge of identifying covert malinformation operations, further conceptual and methodological innovations are required. This panel brings together a selection of recent studies that advance the methods available for the forensic, mixed-methods, in-depth, and large-scale analysis of inauthentic information operations: Paper 1 investigates the arson disinformation campaign during the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season. Paper 2 investigates the distribution and content monetisation strategies of junk news sources across a selection of five major social media platforms during the 2019 European Parliament campaign. Paper 3 explores whether Facebook's microtargeting advertising functionality allows political parties to promote conflicting narratives to different groups of people. Paper 4 studies the experience and engagement with malinformation by users of Facebook and WhatsApp, focussing on the current political environment in Brazil.