BROD with a presentation at the EDMO scientific conference at the University of Amsterdam

Published Wednesday 28 February 2024 at 06:23


The Bulgarian-Romanian Digital Observatory of Digital Media (BROD) is presented at the EDMO scientific conference at the University of Amsterdam. Nicoleta Corbu, Dan Sultănescu and Madalina Botan from National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Todor Galev from Center for the Study of Democracy, the scientific coordinator of BROD Keith Kiely, Andy Stoycheff from NTCenter and Patrik Szicherle from GLOBSEC have a paper, named Effects of disinformation about the accession to the Schengen area in Bulgaria and Romania.

The subject of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the Schengen area has become a prominent topic in the media in two countries in the last year, due to the constant opposition of Austria, despite the compliance of the countries with the criteria to join the free circulation area. The topic has given birth to a series of misleading narratives (from mild disinformation narratives to full fledged conspiracy theories), especially in the extreme right-wing parties’ discourses and alternative media, but also in the public discourse of various political actors. In this context, as part of BROD EDMO hub’s research agenda, researchers analysed the most prominent disinformation narratives about NATO in the two countries covered by BROD and their potential effects of fostering Eurosceptic feelings. As a first step, they conducted an automated content analysis of Facebook public posts (using CrowdTangle) and online media listening in both countries (using Sensika in Bulgaria and Zelist in Romania). Further, they performed a qualitative analysis of the most prominent disinformation narratives in both countries. In the second step, they tested the effects of such narratives on people’s further engagement with the topic and increase of Eurosceptic attitudes by means of comparative survey experiments (N = 912 for Bulgaria and N = 895 for Romania), manipulating the source (social media vs. mainstream media vs. alternative media) of a news story containing misleading narratives about the consequences of accession to the Schengen area. They found significant effects of such disinformation narratives on increasing Eurosceptic feelings in the population and that people are more likely to furher share this type of content if it comes from mainstream meadia (compared with alternative or social media), probably due to the higher level of trust they have for mainstream media outlets.

Prof. Nicoleta Corbu presents at University of Amsterdam.

Prof. Nicoleta Corbu at EDMO Conference. Photo BROD