Virtual Violence: Mapping Iraqi Militia Digital Armies on Twitter
Faculty Research Grant
This project investigates inauthentic coordinated behavior of Iraqi militia groups’ influencers. It examines how Shia militia groups in Iraq use Twitter algorithms to create trending hashtags in Iraq. These hashtags often contain hate speech, remarks of sectarianism and calls for ethnic cleansing and depopulation of areas of Sunni majority population. We investigate a case study of two types of armed organizations, where these "Digital Armies" orchestrate high-level campaigns to shape narratives about conflict and democracy while
disguising social media activity to appear as if it were authentic public opinions.