How to manipulate social media: Analyzing political astroturfing using ground truth data from South Korea

Franziska B. Keller, David Schoch, Sebastian Stier, Junghwan Yang

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

Abstract

This project investigates political astroturfing, i.e. hidden propaganda by powerful political actors aimed at mimicking grassroots activity, on social media. We focus on Twitter accounts used by the South Korean secret service to influence the 2012 presidential elections in favor of the eventual winner, Park Geun-hye. Two independent cluster analyses based on activity patterns of the Twitter accounts and textual features of tweets reliably reveal that there are three groups of NIS accounts, including one group that engages mostly in retweeting, and another group focused on posting news articles with a link. We show that these groups reflect different strategic agendas and correspond to several secret service agents identified in the court documents. We argue that these patterns of coordinated tweeting are consistent with predictions derived from principal-agent theory, and should therefore appear in other astroturfing campaigns as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017
PublisherAAAI Press
Pages564-567
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781577357889
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: May 15 2017May 18 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017

Other

Other11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityMontreal
Period5/15/175/18/17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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