1st Edition

Disinformation and Data Lockdown on Social Platforms

Edited By Shawn Walker, Dan Mercea, Marco Bastos Copyright 2022
    150 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book addresses the question of how researchers can conduct independent, ethical research on mal-, mis- and disinformation in a rapidly changing and hostile data environment.

    The escalating issue of data access is thrown into sharp relief by the large-scale use of bots, trolls, fake news, and strategies of false amplification, the effects of which are difficult to quantify due to a corporate environment favouring platform lockdowns and the restriction of access to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). As social media platforms increase obstacles to independent scholarship by dramatically curbing access to APIs, researchers are faced with the stark choice of either limiting their use of trace data or developing new methods of data collection. Without a breakthrough, social media research may go the way of search engine research, in which only a small group of researchers who have direct relationships with search companies such as Google and Microsoft can access data and conduct research.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Information, Communication & Society.

    1. Introduction: The disinformation landscape and the lockdown of social platforms 
    Shawn Walker, Dan Mercea and Marco Bastos 
    2. After the ‘APIcalypse’: social media platforms and their fight against critical scholarly research 
    Axel Bruns 
    3. An end to the wild west of social media research: a response to Axel Bruns 
    Cornelius Puschmann 
    4. Overcoming terms of service: a proposal for ethical distributed research 
    Alexander Halavais 
    5. Data craft: a theory/methods package for critical internet studies 
    Amelia Acker and Joan Donovan 
    6. Diverging patterns of interaction around news on social media: insularity and partisanship during the 2018 Italian election campaign 
    Fabio Giglietto, Augusto Valeriani, Nicola Righetti and Giada Marino 
    7. Algorithms and agenda-setting in Wikileaks’ #Podestaemails release 
    Nicholas Proferes and Ed Summers 
    8. Disinformation, performed: self-presentation of a Russian IRA account on Twitter 
    Yiping Xia, Josephine Lukito, Yini Zhang, Chris Wells, Sang Jung Kim and Chau Tong 


    Shawn Walker is Assistant Professor of Data & Society in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University.

    Dan Mercea is Reader in the Department of Sociology at City, University of London.

    Marco Bastos is the University College Dublin Ad Astra Fellow at the School of Information and Communication Studies.