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CPAS Seminar Series

Tuesday 4 April, Associate Professor Darren Linvill will give a seminar on disinformation and civil discourse.

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4 Apr 2023 | 12 - 1pm
person Speaker


Associate Professor Darren Linvill
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Free, just bring your lunch. 


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Welcome to the CPAS 2023 Seminar Series!


About the talk -- State Backed Social Media Information Operations 

Darren will discuss his work examining the strategies and tactics of state backed social media information operations. Using real world examples, he will compare and contrast troll accounts from various foreign actors. Focusing on campaigns from China and Russia, Darren will address ways in which behaviours differ depending on the goal of the campaign.

About the speaker
Darren Linvill is an associate professor in the department of Communication at Clemson University (USA) and lead researcher in the Clemson University Media Forensics Hub. He studies state sponsored disinformation on social media, focusing on the work of the Russian Internet Research Agency.

Linvill investigates data messaging and context accompanied by inauthentic behavior on social media networks. His findings show how inauthentic behavior shares some of the same characteristics of authentic behavior coordinated online — or organized in real life and moved online. Exploring the exploitation of trust and social capital in social networks, he also examines misinformation and disinformation in the rising field of social media forensics and data monitoring. In collaboration, he has worked with social media companies and government entities to expose fake accounts and messaging that is counterfeit or inaccurate.

Linvill’s research examines how social media users treat people differently in the digital world than they do in the real world. With social media, users commonly make friends with social media profiles in which they may share some sort of interest, inviting them into their digital homes and social networks. Although these social media “friends” are really strangers and may not even be who they are perceived to be, they still have the ability to influence. Troll farms and bots take advantage of this knowledge and these “relationships” to disseminate propaganda in order to promote specific ideas and encourage actions or reactions.

Knowing government and organizational leaders take into account what they hear from their constituents and the public online, Linvill, along with his colleague Patrick Warren, works to identify and expose misinformation and disinformation intended to affect or disrupt policy, commerce and relations. With the Social Media Listening Center at Clemson University, Linvill has access to data that other institutions don’t have, and he can monitor and analyze a range of topics such as the spread of white supremacy to the influence of foreign states on American conversations.

In 2020, he and Warren partnered with the Commission on Presidential Debates to monitor social media conversations around the debates and help safeguard the 2020 election. Additionally, they have worked with Twitter and Facebook to suspend hundreds of social media accounts they have attributed to a range of bad actors, including the Russian Internet Research Agency.

In 2012, he published “Colleges and universities’ use of Twitter: A content analysis” in Public Relations Review. Recently, he has published numerous articles on misinformation and disinformation, including “That uplifting tweet you just sent? A Russian troll sent it” in Rolling Stone, “Yes, Russia spreads Coronavirus lies. But they were made in America” in The Washington Post and “Engaging with others: How the IRA coordinated information operation made friends” in The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Misinformation Review. 

Linvill became a lecturer at Clemson in 2007 and started studying social media in 2010. After becoming an associate professor in 2017, he delved deeper into the truth or falsity of online messaging and its effects.

Staff profile: 
Twitter: @DarrenLinvill


1.30 Green couch room, Peter Baume Building 42a, Acton ACT 2601

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View the event