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Information Laundering on Facebook

Ciaran O’Connor, Cooper Gatewood, Kendrick McDonald, Sarah Brandt
18/12/2020

This report from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) analyzes 29 Facebook groups and pages that have exhibited suspicious, potentially coordinated and inauthentic activity since June 2020. While 18 of these 29 groups and pages have been removed by Facebook, the others still remain active. The results of this report suggest that a form of “information laundering”[1] could be occurring on Facebook, with small groups of users acting in a coordinated manner to post controversial content on different Facebook pages. These posts include anti-Democrat content (specifically anti-Hillary Clinton and anti-Ilhan Omar), pro-Republican content (excluding specifically pro-Trump entities, e.g., pro-Sean Hannity and pro-Mike Pence), pro-Trump content, content concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and content regarding George Floyd (including content supporting the protests following Floyd’s death, content supporting the actions of the police and content directly attacking Floyd). These controversial posts are then picked up and shared by many users who are not a part of the operation, but who actively contribute to it by giving visibility to this content. The ISD has identified 1,472 groups and pages that have been targeted by this “information laundering” operation.

In conclusion, the report notes that the politically biased nature of these posts suggests that they belong to a coordinated operation intended to further polarize the partisan communities existing on Facebook and to disrupt the November 2020 U.S. elections.   


[1] Information laundering can be defined as “the progressive surfacing of news – fake or otherwise – from unverified sources.” https://qz.com/850475/jon-stewart-the-american-media-has-become-an-information-laundering-scheme/

Format :    
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Edition :  Institute for Strategic Dialogue  
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Country :  United Kingdom 
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Language  :  English 
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