An Italian Network of Memes, News, Spam Pages, and Dietary Supplements
16 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 7, 2020
In the context of a larger study on the spread of Covid-19 related mis/disinformation in Italy, we detected a network of 34 Facebook Pages that performed Coordinated Link Sharing. The potential reach of the network is significant with a cumulative subscriber count of over 6 million users. Each month, the network publishes more than 20,000 posts. Due to the number of posts and users, the interaction rate is relatively low with less than 0.05 interaction per user in a month. Despite that, top monthly posts have been shared thousands of times. The large majority of content posted consists of inspirational sentences conveyed as image macros. However, 10% of the photo includes links in the message/description of the post. During mid-October, the network started posting links to well-respected journalistic news sources such as La Repubblica and La Stampa. We hypothesize that the aim of this strategy is to meddle with Facebook’s policy that prioritizes news from trustworthy publications and/or to mitigate the effects of circulation penalties gained by violating the platform community standards. The goal of the network is to drive traffic to the billoccino.com domain and monetize by selling online parapharmaceutical products (e.g. dietary supplements).
Keywords: coordinated behavior, facebook, coornet
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