Episode 1 - setting the scene for a journey into fake

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The Disinformation Podcast begins with an introduction to John Gray, co-founder of the Twitter network visualisation tool Mentionmapp Analytics. Over time, John and me will be taking a closer look at the gaming of social media platforms - and Twitter in particular - by the purveyors of false information and creators of fake online personas. 

In this first episode we set the scene for our future work and I give a heads up on a story that will unfold over time. It's about an apparent multi-platform network of social media accounts that connect across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A fake information network that appears to be run by two real people.

Keep an eye on this page - this is where we'll be posting the show notes for every future episode, including network visualisations and other material illustrating our investigations.

You can also listen on Soundcloud, below.

Visit Mentionmapp to discover the power of Twitter network visualisation - for brands, individuals and organisations who want to better understand the online conversation around the issues they care about.

Read the Mentionmapp blog on Medium.

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Who the hell is @DavidJoBrexit (formerly @DavidJo52951945)?

The anonymous Twitter account 'David Jones' identified by The Times as a Kremlin agent - but probably just a Northern Ireland UKIP creation

The anonymous Twitter account 'David Jones' identified by The Times as a Kremlin agent - but probably just a Northern Ireland UKIP creation

In December 2016 I became curious about an influential pro-Brexit Twitter account called 'David Jones' aka @DavidJo52951945.

Although 'DavidJo' claimed a location of 'Southampton/Isle of Wight' my investigations of the account's origins led to the office of a UKIP councillor in Upper Bann, Northern Ireland, called David Jones.

I interviewed Mr Jones, who denied any connection, and the mystery of who was behind such a popular account remained. The story of my findings and interview with Mr Jones was published in print only, by the New European, with no further developments until August 2017.

Then a threaded Twitter post by @Conspirator0 argued that 'DavidJo' seemed to be a Russian actor. The Times of London picked up the story and ran it under a front page headline Thousands of Twitter users 'deceived by Russian agent'.

I was invited onto LBC's James O'Brien show that morning to discuss that story and the wider issues around politically hyper-partisan social media activity. You can listen to that interview below.

Meanwhile, the elusive 'DavidJo' has locked its account to private mode, reconfigured its biography and taken a new name 'DavidJoBrexit'. At the time of writing, no one is any the wiser as to who he, she or they are. 

Computational propaganda bots, personal data abuse & how to fight back

New European feature on computational propaganda bots, personal data and more.

New European feature on computational propaganda bots, personal data and more.

The New European recently published my feature on computational propaganda and the need for digital media literacy in the age of online disinformation. A related issue was also covered - who holds personal data about us, what it's used for and the steps we can take to take control of our own information. Link through via the picture above to read the full article.

There is also a wealth of additional insight to be heard in the interviews I conducted for the piece. You can listen to the interviews below.