Categorizing Memes About the Ukraine Conflict

Keyu Chen, Ashley Feng, Rohan Aanegola, Koustuv Saha, Allie Wong, Zach Schwitzky, Roy Ka Wei Lee, Robin O’Hanlon, Munmun De Choudhury, Frederick L. Altice, Kaveh Khoshnood, Navin Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Russian disinformation campaign uses pro-Russia memes to polarize Americans, and increase support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thus, it is critical for governments and similar stakeholders to identify pro-Russia memes, countering them with evidence-based information. Identifying broad meme themes is crucial for developing a targeted and strategic counter response. There are also a range of pro-Ukraine memes that bolster support for the Ukrainian cause. As such, we need to identify pro-Ukraine memes and aid with their dissemination to augment global support for Ukraine. We address the indicated issues through the following contributions: 1) Creation of an annotated dataset of pro-Russia (N = 70) and pro-Ukraine (N = 121) memes regarding the Ukraine conflict; 2) Identification of broad themes within the pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine meme categories. Broadly, our findings indicated that pro-Russia memes fall into thematic categories that seek to undermine specific elements of US and their allies’ policy and culture. Pro-Ukraine memes are far more diffuse thematically, highlighting admiration for Ukraine’s people and its leadership. Stakeholders may utilize our findings to develop targeted strategies to mitigate Russian influence operations - possibly reducing effects of the conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComputational Data and Social Networks - 11th International Conference, CSoNet 2022, Proceedings
EditorsThang N. Dinh, Minming Li
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783031263026
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Computational Data and Social Networks, CSoNet 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 5 2022Dec 7 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13831 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference11th International Conference on Computational Data and Social Networks, CSoNet 2022
CityVirtual, Online


  • Memes
  • Social media
  • Ukraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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