Abuse of Power: Coordinated Online Harassment of Finnish Government Ministers Cover Image

Abuse of Power: Coordinated Online Harassment of Finnish Government Ministers
Abuse of Power: Coordinated Online Harassment of Finnish Government Ministers

Author(s): Kristina Van Sant, Rolf Fredheim, Gundars Bergmanis-Korats
Contributor(s): Anna Reynolds (Editor)
Subject(s): Media studies, Politics and communication, Theory of Communication, Crowd Psychology: Mass phenomena and political interactions, Social Informatics
Published by: NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence
Keywords: Finland; government ministers; coordinated online harassment; social media; Twitter; politically motivated abuse; online hate speech;
Summary/Abstract: This report is an explorative analysis of abusive messages targeting Finnish ministers on the social media platform Twitter. The purpose of this study is to understand the scope of politically motivated abusive language on Finnish Twitter, and to determine if, and to what extent, it is perpetrated by inauthentic accounts. To this end, we developed a mixed methodology, combining AI-driven quantitative visualisations of the networks delivering messages of abuse with a qualitative analysis of the messages in order to understand the themes and triggers of abusive activity. We collected Twitter data between 12 March and 27 July 2020, a period spanning the state of emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report is informed by the findings of three recent Finnish studies, one of which investigated the extent and effects of online hate speech against politicians while the other two studied the use of bots to influence political discourse during the 2019 Finnish parliamentary elections.

  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-9934-564-97-0
  • Page Count: 71
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: English