Social Media Disinformation and Narratives

Tom Willaert and Armin Pournaki will give a talk about the methodological challenges and approaches for Social Media Disinformation and Narratives.

Social Media Disinformation and Narratives

Within the franework of the DE FACTO Project, the medialab seminar is hosting Tom Willaeart (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Armin Pournaki (Sciences Po médialab), o June 13th, 2pm-4pm.


“Online disinformation and conspiracy theories are often marked by their highly idiosyncratic content, their decentralized nature, and their emergence in the so-called “fringes” of the web. These features raise significant methodological challenges for researchers aiming to study them empirically. Based on experiences gained in recent studies and investigations, this inter-EDMO presentation explores the methodological aspects of the study of online conspiracy theories, disinformation, and antagonistic narratives with computational methods.
The talk will first address questions of sampling and content analysis by discussing a study on Dutch-speaking antagonistic communities on Telegram conducted in the context of the EDMO BELUX project. In particular, the presentation will focus on how networks of associated, antagonistic Telegram channels can be identified in an inductive manner, and how we can detect thematic evolutions in the messages that figure in these channels.
The second part of the talk will dive into the more general question of narratives and how to operationalize the concept in order to extract narrative traces from text. To this end, an initial methodological  approach and tools developed in the EDMO BELUX sister project SoMe4Dem (Horizon Europe Social Media for Democracy) will be presented.”


Tom Willaert is a postdoctoral researcher in digital methods at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). His research aims to bridge methodological gaps between data science and humanities interpretative practice, with a focus on methods for the analysis of online (mis)information.

Armin holds a M.Sc. in Physics from the Technical University Berlin. In his thesis, he develops computational approaches to discourse analysis by combining network science and natural language processing to shed light on the relation between interactions on social media and the alignment of arguments and opinions.

Practical information

The seminar will be held on the Sciences Po campus, located 1 place Saint Thomas d’Aquin (Room N207), 75007 Paris.

Mandatory registration.

About us

Check First is a leading Finnish software and methodologies company, spearheading adversarial research techniques. We believe that everyone should be able to understand how and why content is presented to them. We advocate for online clarity and accountability, building solutions to attain this goal. Partnering with leading institutions, regulators, NGOs and educators, we aim at curbing the spread of disinformation and foreign influence manipulations.

Our story