Understanding the strategies, tactics, and goals of social media actors seeking to manipulate the Italian public opinion by exploiting the vulnerabilities of the contemporary media ecosystem

Social Media & Italian Elections

What is Mapping Italian News - Election

During the last decade, Italy proved to be a fertile ground for the rise of digital parties and social media driven populisms. Against this backdrop, the project Mapping Italian News Media Political Coverage in the Lead-up to 2018 General Election (MINE) was designed to explore the Italian media ecosystem by analyzing a set of election-related political news stories and their patterns of engagement on Facebook and Twitter.

We explored the Italian digital media ecosystem by analyzing two sets of election-related political news stories and their patterns of social media engagement in the lead-up to 2018 general election and 2019 election for the European Parliament.

Beyond the Election 2018

About the project

To sum up MINE findings, we documented multiple efforts carried on by partisan online communities to amplify the social media reach of certain political news stories and skew the public narrative around certain issues. More specifically, we observed a specific pattern of interaction on Facebook possibly associated with strategic amplification and reframing.

However, the limits in publicly available data hindered investigating further the strategies, logics and motivation behind this operations. To deepen this question we thus designed a follow up study that leverages an unprecedented dataset and tools made available by Facebook to twelve teams of scholars selected by Social Science Research Council within their Social Media & Democracy initiative.

This website illustrates the outcomes of this project.