Workshop Proceedings of the 16th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

DOI: 10.36190/2022.43

Published: 2022-06-01
Coordinated through a Web of Images: Analysis of Image-based Influence Operations from China, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela
Lynnette Ng, J.D. Moffit and Kathleen M. Carley

State-sponsored online influence operations typically consist of coordinated accounts exploiting the online space to influence public opinion. Accounts associated with these operations typically use images and memes as part of their content generation and dissemination strategy to increase the effectiveness and engagement of the content. In this paper, we present a study of images from the PhoMemes 2022 Challenge originating from the countries China, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. First, we analyze the coordination of images within and across each country by quantifying image similarity. Then, we construct Image-Image networks and image clusters to identify key themes in the image influence operations. We derive the corresponding Account-Account networks to visualize the interaction between participating accounts within each country. Finally, we interpret the image content and network structure in the broader context of the organization and structure of influence operations in each country.