This research uses the Social Network Analysis (SNA) method to determine the main actors in Twitter discussions around news topics. First, using the theory of networked authoritarianism (MacKinnon, 2011), it conceptualizes the ways that authoritarian states may influence domestic media and the broader Internet, taking Russia as our case study. It describes Russia’s media system and the incentives behind it. Next, it discusses the role of Twitter in authoritarian societies and defines Twitter’s role in today’s Russia. Methodology and results are followed by an exploration of the involvement of state-loyal actors in online discussions of the news, including those centered on social media in support of Russia’s domestic and international priorities, aiming to set the agenda on sensitive news topics and, thus, support existing authoritarian elites while diminishing voices of opposition.
- social network analysis