This primer sets out to achieve three objectives. First, it seeks to provide an overarching perspective on social media monitoring and the complexities of studying the online information environment. Second, it provides insights into how monitoring can be structured and conducted to achieve desired results.
Finally, it provides an overview and review of some popular tools for social media monitoring from a disinformation perspective, including tools for data collection, network analysis, and data visualisation. The primer serves as a point of departure for developing a social media monitoring capacity, with specific reference to security issues such as information influence activities and disinformation. We hope that our overview of methods and tools will provide an entry point for beginners and a new perspective for intermediate and advanced users, be they open-source operators, public sector communicators, journalists, or interested members of the public.
About this report
This report provides an overview of social media monitoring and the complexities of studying the online information environment. It also reviews a variety of tools and services for social media monitoring, particularly focusing on disinformation and information influence.
This primer builds on consultations with subject-matter experts who routinely work with social media monitoring. We asked developers, intelligence operatives, open-source practitioners, PR experts, journalists, and others, which methods and tools they preferred. We then cross-referenced the information they provided with our own research and in-house testing. The products and services mentioned in this primer should not be viewed as an endorsement or recommendation of the products or services described.