Visualising influence: Information bubbles and ideological proximities on Czech, Hungarian & Slovak Facebook
The report offers an insight into the most influential Facebook pages in each of the three countries and analyses the links between them. In cooperation with Graphika and their AI tool, three maps have been created by using that algorithms calculate and then visualise ideological proximity between different Facebook pages based on likes and follows between them. Analysts from GLOBSEC, PSSI and Political Capital were involved in the process of data analysis and interpretation.
As a result, the report offers a comprehensive overview of the Facebook information landscape in the three countries enabling the identification of network affiliations and potential ideological overlaps not seen before. The report particularly focuses on Russian influences and pages involved in information manipulation. It explores key overlaps between the pages sharing problematic content with other groups of pages and examines how Russia-originated and pro-Russian content travels through the Facebook information space of the three analysed countries.
Here are some of the key findings:
The Czech Facebook sphere is centered around mainstream media outlets. Political parties are diffused across the map and distanced from one another, which shows a degree of political polarisation both between the parties and society. Pro-Russian Facebook sites, closely linked with conspiracy pages in Czechia, are on the periphery of the Czech map, implying a confined reach to other thematic groups in the societal network on Facebook.
The Hungarian Facebook sphere is more segregated compared to those in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with pages organised into relatively distinct groups. This fact underscores the vast ideological divisions apparent within Hungarian society. A central issue in terms of pro-Russian influence in Hungary concerns pro-government groups of pages that routinely publish content that conforms to pro-Kremlin narratives and provide favourable coverage on Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes.
Centre of the Slovak network is occupied by a wide spectrum of the Slovak political scene represented by the former ruling party SMER-SD and the far-right Kotleba ĽSNS party. This indicates that their content plays an important role in the Slovak Facebook public sphere. This category of the Slovak polical scene shows notable overlaps with Slovak and Czech disinformation sites, which confirms that disinformation narratives are now seeping into the mainstream political discourse in Slovakia. Resembling a wave, pro-Kremlin disinformation and propaganda meanders from official Kremlin Facebook pages to anti-Ukrainian communities in the Slovak information space. These are, in turn, close to Slovak and Czech disinformation outlets at the core of the Slovak Facebook map.
The Slovak and the Czech map are interconnected. 16% of pages on the Slovak map are also included in the Czech one. Since the content does not need linguistic translation, the content can travel seamlessly between the two countries with relatively few hitches, a fact exploited successfully by pro-Kremlin actors.
Hungarian heritage and political clusters also leave a sizeable footprint on the Slovak Facebook map, with 10% of pages present in the Slovak map found on the Hungarian map as well.
To explore the details of the Facebook public sphere in the three countries, read the report below.
Map of Slovak Facebook
Map of Czech Facebook
Map of Hungarian Facebook