CooRnet: an R package for detecting coordinated behavior on social media

Today we have released CooRnet, an R package developed for detecting coordinated link sharing behavior on Facebook and Instagram.

Given a list of URLs, the package queries the CrowdTangle API link endpoint to retrieve their shares performed by Facebook and Instagram public pages, groups and verified accounts, and identifies the networks involved in coordinated activity around those links.

The basic functions of CooRnet are augmented with other useful functions to create, for instance, the graph of the coordinated networks or the dataset of the most shared URLs.

CooRnet employs the methods we applied and detailed in our research on coordinated link sharing behavior and coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook, as described in the report Understanding Coordinated and Inauthentic Link Sharing Behavior on Facebook in the Run-up to 2018 General Election and 2019 European Election in Italy, where we found, for instance, that URLs shared in coordinated way gained more engagement than those shared in non-coordinated way, and in the paper It takes a village to manipulate the media: coordinated link sharing behavior during 2018 and 2019 Italian elections.

Engagement by coordinated and non-coordinated activity on Facebook. Understanding Coordinated and Inauthentic Link Sharing Behavior on Facebook in the Run-up to 2018 General Election and 2019 European Election in Italy

In these works we found that networks involved in coordinated link sharing behavior are consistently associated with the spread of misinformation on Facebook. In the two figures below you can see the proportion of blacklisted domains shared by coordinated and non-coordinated entities and the proportion of problematic entities (signaled by Avaaz) included in the coordinated and non-coordinated entities, as emerged in our studies on the Italian elections.

A short description of the usage of the R package CooRnet and the instruction for installing it can be found on the GitHub repository where it is currently hosted and on the dedicated website, where you can find also some useful tutorials (the work is in progress) that introduce to the functions of the package.

Proportion of problematic domains shared by coordinated and non-coordinated entities. The panel on the right displays the risk ratio (RR) values, all statistically significant. (It takes a village to manipulate the media)
Proportion of problematic entities included in the coordinated and non-coordinated entities. The panel on the right displays the risk ratio (RR) values, all statistically significant. (It takes a village to manipulate the media)