This toolkit introduces the Centre for Monitoring and Research’s (CeMI) methodological approach to investigating online Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB) and provides instruction to emulate such an approach for prospective monitors and CSOs with low or no programming knowledge and access to CrowdTangle. Toolkit introduces valuable techniques for practitioners to leverage when investigating Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior specifically seeking to influence elections and the electoral process; though, such techniques may also be used when investigating CIB more broadly.
This toolkit has been developed as a continuation of CeMI’s pilot investigation in 2021 in the lead up to the Montenegrin 2020 Parliamentary Elections. As part of this pilot initiative, CeMI developed the original methodology and leveraged this approach to identify potential Abuses of State Resources, Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior, and Campaign Violations during the electoral period. While the approach has considered social media monitoring from the standpoint of civil society organization, the insights are applicable to anyone who is monitoring social media and deceptive behaviors during elections and evaluating its effect on politics.
Monitors will learn how to set up a monitoring approach via the CrowdTangle platform, investigate suspicious content, collect, and analyze social media data, report research findings, and avoid common monitoring pitfalls relevant to investigating CIB. Toolkit also includes numerous tools, templates, methods, and other practical tips that may facilitate investigation efforts and identify key areas for possible further expansion of the monitoring methodology.