What Do We Know About Russia’s 2016 Twitter Operation During the U.S. Presidential Election Campaign?

Thursday, February 7, 2019
NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place, 2nd Floor

Please join the Harriman Institute and the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia for panel discussion as part of our New York-Russia Public Policy Series. Moderated by Joshua Tucker (NYU Jordan Center), the panel will feature Cody Buntain (NYU SMaPP Lab), Kate Starbird (University of Washington), Patrick Warren (Clemson University), Darren Linvill (Clemson University), and Leon Yin (NYU SMaPP Lab).

This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is part of our Russian Studies & Policy event series.

One of the most important—and enduring—stories to come out of the U.S. 2016 Presidential election campaign was the potential role played by Russia’s “Internet Research Agency” in (potentially) attempting to influence political behavior surrounding the election though the use of digital (dis)information campaigns. On October 17, 2018, Twitter released a collection of over 10 million tweets that it reported were produced by IRA controlled accounts. Since that time, teams of scholars have been hard at work analyzing the content of these tweets. Our second 2019 New York City-Russia Public Policy series event features a panel of five scholars who have been examining these tweets over the past three months:

Cody Buntain is a postdoctoral researcher with SMaPP. His primary research areas exist at the intersection of data science in social media and the social sciences, specifically how individuals engage socially and politically and respond to crises and disaster in online spaces. Current problems he is studying include cross-platform information flows, temporal evolution/politicization of topics, misinformation, and information/interaction quality.

Kate Starbird is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington. Starbird's research is situated within the field of crisis informatics—the study of the how ICTs are used during crisis events. One aspect of her research focuses on how online rumors spread during natural disasters and man-made crisis events. More recently, she has begun to focus on the online propagation of disinformation and political propaganda.

Patrick Warren is an Associate Professor of Economics who has been at Clemson University since 2008. Before coming to Clemson, Dr. Warren studied at MIT. Dr. Warren’s research focuses on the operation of organizations in the economy: for-profit and non-profit firms, bureaucracies, political parties, armies, and propaganda bureaus.

Darren Linvill is an Associate Professor of Communication who has been at Clemson since 2008. Linvill previously studied civil discourse, online and in the college classroom. Along with Patrick Warren, he currently does work exploring Russia’s Internet Research Agency and the strategies and tactics it has employed on social media.

Leon Yin is a research scientist at NYU’s Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) Lab and a research affiliate at Data & Society’s Media Manipulation Initiative. He develops techniques and tools used in the study of social movements, online influencer networks and Internet culture. He is also a core developer for the urlexpander and youtube-data-api Python packages.

Moderator: Joshua A. Tucker is Director of NYU’s Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia, a co-Director of the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) laboratory, and a co-author/editor of the award-winning politics and policy blog The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post. He is Professor of Politics, affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, and affiliated Professor of Data Science at New York University.