Social Media Lab Launches a New Election 43 Research Project as Part of the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new research project at the Social Media Lab this fall called “Online Violence and Its Effects on Political Engagement on Twitter.”

Online Violence and Its Effects on Political Engagement on Twitter

Project Leads: Anatoliy Gruzd, Philip Mai and Raquel Recuero

The goal of the study is to better understand the online dynamics of violence against women and minority representatives running for political offices in Canada, with a focus on their use of Twitter, a popular communication and information platform amongst the Canadian public, politicians, and elected officials. The study will provide research-based evidence for policymakers, governing stakeholders, researchers, and social media intermediaries working on addressing current knowledge gaps and challenges associated with online violence against women and minorities. It will also help us examine the capabilities and overall effectiveness of Twitter’s platform-based guardianship (i.e., automated and human-led content moderation) and discuss current policy responses to online violence.

This new project is funded as part of the The Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge, an initiative that supports academic research into the impacts and uses of digital media during the 2019 Federal Election in Canada. Candidates from Canada and around the world were encouraged to submit projects which aim to understand the digital media ecosystem in order to foster increased digital literacy among Canadians. The winning projects focus on topics ranging from environmental politics, to political advertising. For a full description of the winning projects, visit the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge’s website. The Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge is made possible in part by Canadian Heritage and the Government of Canada’s Canada History Fund grant.  

This new research project is part of the Lab’s various Election 43 (#ELXN43) Transparency Initiatives, including:

  • an examination of Facebook’s new Ads Library API (Part 1 & Part 2),
  • developing, a visualization dashboard designed to help voters, members of the media, and campaign staffers to gauge the health of political discussions on Twitter, spot misinformation and the use of automation…aka political bots,
  • compiling a Links & Misinformation Database of URLs shared on #CDNPoli including links that have been backlisted for disseminating hoaxes and disinformation,
  • developing a Facebook Political Ads Dashboard (ETA September 2019). The dashboard will feature statistics about paid election, political and social issues ads that have been posted to Facebook in Canada. The Facebook Political Ads Dashboard will be an add-on to our existing Polidasboard.