Cyber Social Swarming Precedes Real World Riots in Leicester

A Tweets thread by Network Contagion Research Institute

NCRI’s new report “Cyber Social Swarming Precedes Real World Riots in Leicester: How Social Media Became a Weapon for Violence”

Finding:

Our report found that social media platforms were central to agitation and fomenting real world violence against vulnerable populations in the U.K. In this thread, we use machine learning, natural language processing, network analysis, OSINT and classification to investigate.

NCRI developed a timeline describing notable events and malicious narratives. Malicious online narratives, many since deleted, played an essential role in instigating attacks in Leicester.

Malicious Narratives around “Hindutva Dominance” Underscored Cyber Swarming activity – recruit followers from the virtual world to mobilize into real world protests and violence in Leicester.

These narratives exploded and Topic Networks show that these dominance themes became top associations with the term “Hindu” overall on Twitter.

Inauthentic bot-like activity disseminated both Hinduphobic and Islamophobic messaging. Using NCRI’s tools, we found evidence of bot like accounts that disseminated both anti-Hindu and anti-Muslim messaging throughout the violence, projecting the other community as responsible.

Network of concentrated reactivity and blame towards Muslims took shape in India in response to these events.

Using ConfliBERT and HateBERT, we found numerous calls for violence, with roughly 70% of these calls targeting Hindus and 30% targeting Muslims

This incident illustrates the need to develop an early warning system to communicate information threats impacting vulnerable communities.

Moving forward, information threats can be shared with local community leaders and LE officials so they can act collaboratively to address false narratives that can lead to real-world violence.

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