PCI Community Insights: Presentation from Bakamo

“Social Listening” to address disinformation

PCI Initiative
May 4, 2020 · 2 min read

Bakamo CEO and co-founder, Daniel Fazekas, presented at an April PCI Community call, sharing insights from across Bakamo’s disinformation and gaming practices. Bakamo uses Luhmann’s System Theory to uncover hidden meanings expressed by people online. Fazekas described recent Bakamo studies to illustrate the company’s approach.

Bakamo’s study on the 2017 Presidential elections in France relied on analysis of shared links to explore both the demand and supply side of disinformation. The analysis clustered media sources into two camps: traditional and non-traditional media sources, which were further partitioned into “Extend,” “Reframe,” and “Alternative” silos. This micro and macro lens helped reveal the tactics and strategies used to inject disinformation into the public discourse.

Bakamo examined disinformation distribution through three types of behavior:

  • Repeat — Simple sharing without personal expression (easy to subvert with bots)
  • Mission — The sharing of a viewpoint, using the article as support
  • Provoke — Content sharing with clear intent to hurt others.

Bakamo found that users form symbolic communities with their media source of choice and take it upon themselves to amplify content they identify with. Disinformation, in effect, becomes emotional fare deeply linked with personal perspectives feelings. (See full report).

Bakamo has also recently explored images related to Russia among European audiences to explore the reasons for openness to foreign adversarial propaganda. Fazekas demonstrated that a qualitative query of social media conversations can reveal the narratives and audience personas behind social media handles and provide actionable input for strategic counter-messaging.

Bakamo is a strategic social listening consultancy that uses technology and human understanding to find meaning in the millions of conversations that take place online every day.

People-Centered Internet (PCI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working to ensure that the Internet is a positive force for good, improving the lives and well-being of people around the world. This includes promoting connectivity, fighting disinformation, contributing to the discussion about technology ethics, supporting the development of people-centered applications and initiatives, advising policymakers, and leveraging technology to help communities be more resilient.

People-Centered Internet

Working for an Internet that works for People

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