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AoIR 2017

Association of Internet Researchers conference, Tartu, 18-21 Oct. 2017

YouTube's Disruptive Effect on the Saudi Mediasphere

The second speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Omar Daoudi, whose interest is in the Saudi government's reactions to YouTube content. This work covers the period of time between 2010 and 2016, after which there were also considerable changes in government policy.

Selfie Protests and the Creation of a Shared Sense of Identity

The post-lunch session at AoIR 2017 starts with Giovanni Boccia Artieri, whose interest is in the #selfieprotest phenomenon. Overall, online and social media platforms are playing an increasing role in protest movements, of course, and one of the challenges here is to find some of the boundaries of the public sphere that emerges through this, as well as to trace the dynamics of engagement in these spaces.

Counterpublics in Italian Facebook Discussions of Alternative Medicine

The final speaker in this AoIR 2017 session on 'fake news' is Fabio Giglietto, whose focus is on the discussion and dissemination of fake medical news on Facebook. In January 2016, the Italian public affairs TV show Presa Diretta covered alternative cancer treatments in a highly critical way, and further discussed these matters on its Facebook page; the present project examined the debate that ensued. This ties to broader concerns about public distrust in conventional medicine, and the online promotion of alternative treatments.

Bots in the U.K.'s Brexit Referendum

The next speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Marco Bastos, whose focus is on the Brexit referendum. He notes that a substantial number of bots were active in the Brexit debate on Twitter, yet many of these accounts disappeared immediately after the referendum. But it is also important to distinguish between different bots: there are legitimate bot developers that offer such accounts, while genuine, highly active users are sometimes also misidentified as bots.

The Discursive Institutionalisation of 'Fake News' in Germany

The third speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Kirsten Gollatz, whose focus is on the institutionalisation of the 'fake news' controversy in Germany. The debate on 'fake news' there continues, and the term itself is controversial; it has now entered the German dictionary, but nonetheless remains ill-defined. There is an ongoing renegotiation of the norms, rules, and responsibilities of the various relevant actors in this context.

'Fake' as a Floating Signifier in Danish News

The next speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Johan Farkas, whose focus is on 'fake news' in Denmark. he begins by suggesting that we are now entering a hyper-factual era: digital media are transforming our definition of news, and political leaders have been capitalising on this by creating their own definitions of news. This has also been described as an era of 'post-truth', but at the same time we have rarely talked more about what is 'true' and what is 'false' than we do today.

NATO's View of 'Fake News' and Related Information Activities

The next session at AoIR 2017 is a panel on 'fake news', and begins with Giorgio Bertolin, from NATO (!). 'Fake news' is also an issue for NATO as a military alliance, of course, and NATO is about to publish a report on the issue that is called Digital Hydra. The focus is on exploring activities across different platforms, examining the role of blogs, and studying 'fake news' sites.

Gender and Technology in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

The final speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Elizabeth Losh, whose interest is in the role of devices in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Barack Obama was seen as associated with a broad range of constructive as well as destructive devices, from personal mobile phones to impersonal drones, while Donald Trump is associated mostly with the tweets sent from his mobile phone. But what about Hillary Clinton?

Different Bots in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

The next speaker at AoIR 2017 is Olga Boichàk, who begins by highlighting the role of social media platforms in structuring specific forms of human sociality. But this also means that automated accounts – specifically, bots – can imitate and affect genuine human interactions in these spaces. What does this mean for online discussions in the context of the 2016 U.S. election campaign, then?

Topic Dynamics in the Right Wing during the 2016 U.S. Election

The second presenter in this AoIR 2017 session is Adrian Rauchfleisch, who begins by highlighting the highly combative and complex nature of the 2016 U.S. election campaign. Counterpublics played an important role here, too; new actors – especially on the right – were able to make their voices heard during the campaign, through some more established actors (Fox News, and Trump himself) also claimed not to be part of the mainstream.


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