Mapping Facebook post-truth spaces in Eastern European countries, Sweden and the Netherlands

Cross-language perspective

Team Members

Sam Bouman, Jinru Dong, Malin Holm, Szilvi Német, Xinwen Xu, Desislava Slavova, Jennie Williams, Maria Plichta, Aistė Meidutė, Kefeng Cao, Richard Rogers, Maria Lompe, Emillie de Keulenaar, Kamila Koronska



1. Introduction

Since the intensification of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, there’s been a plethora of evidence suggesting an increased effort to manipulate public perception about it. Ukraine, the Ukrainian government and ordinary citizens are the targets of attacks orchestrated by pro-Kremlin disinformation operatives. Their efforts are being adopted by online communities who seem to be vulnerable to this rhetoric and inhabit what we identify as post-truth spaces.

For this project, we define post-truth space as an area where epistemic-failures are no longer viewed as problematic. It encompasses attitudes that don't view holding beliefs based on inaccurate facts or falsehoods as a misuse of cognitive powers. Post-truth spaces incorporate attitudes of selective evidentialism, whereby it is right to hold inaccurate beliefs by ordinary people, but organisations and politicians should know better [Blackburn 2006]. On a moral level, the participants whether active or passive, don’t recognise forming and sustaining unjustified, false beliefs as damaging to societies [Clifford 1877]. On the contrary, not having strong convictions or being involved in “instant revisionism” is seen as unworthy or a sign of living an "uninformed" life [Latour 2004]. Post-truth space is where disinformation often gets injected and it is from where it continues its journey across the Web.

This project is a continuation of our previous work on the topic, which now broadens its focus on other Eastern European countries including Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland but also Sweden and the Netherlands. This time the search for problematic content and disinformation operatives was narrowed to the Facebook platform. During the study, we concentrate primarily on distributed external links, treating them as digital artifacts leading to problematic online spaces [Rogers 2019: 363].

Comparing the ways in which problematic links are disseminated across languages, we found significant differences in referrals to pro-Kremlin content across different nations. While in Poland anti-Ukrainian narratives appear not to be overtly linked to pro-Russian sources, the emerging pattern is quite different in the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Bulgaria. The phenomena is linked to the historical and cultural context that connects each of the countries with Russia and Ukraine. This is especially interesting in the light of the differences between the former Soviet Union coutnries and satellite states. Due to longstanding ambitions for Poland's intergration with the Western political and economical systems, open pro-Russian sources are regarded as suspect and not trustworthy by its citizens. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Bulgaria, on the other hand, even such major pro-Russian sources as Russia Today or Sputnik are deemed less suspicious due to the political sentiment, which at times, can appear more pro-Russian than pro-American [GLOBSEC 2020; 5].

As a result of this comperative study, we observe a complex and varied information landscapes that are being perforared in differeny ways with false, misleading and most of all "alternative" information about the situation in Ukraine.

2. Research Questions

RQ: Are there post-truth spaces on Facebook concerning the war in Ukraine in the countries in question?

SubRQ: Are information ladnscapes of Eastern European, Sweden and the Netherlands vulnerable to issues presented as "alternative facts"?

SubRQ: Are there specific problematic clusters per country? Is there a pattern across the countries, e.g., in the presence of a problematic space, its size or prominence?

3. Methodology and initial datasets

Our method is a type of URL analysis that was designed for detection of post-truth spaces. Since most of the disinformation agents support their claims with links to external sources, imagery or video to strengthten their opaque epistemological regimes, we looked into Facebook messages where such were posted. We then performed relational analysis between actors and content they share to identify problematic information clusters.

Corpus Keywords used for this analysis are available here.

Data gathering: We have created a corpus of pro-Russian and neutral keywords, that we have later queried Meta’s Crowdtangle tool. We have captured conversations from Facebook public groups between 24.02.2022 - 10.01.2023 with 10.01 being the first of the DMI winter school. Data was queried with language but not geolocation filters, so for example we queried conversation in Swedish that technically could happen anywhere in the world, also outside Sweden. We did that for 8 languages: Swedish, Dutch, Bulgarian, Polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Czech, Slovak. There was no post limit set.

Data cleaning: We have extracted urls from the “message” column in Crowdtangle exports instead of relying on its default “links” column. We oftentimes found Facebook exports to be preferential to Facebook native urls. For each country we ended up with a varying number of extracted links. Each sample represented appx. 10-15% of captured conversations / language. In order to plot Gephi network, to find relations between quoted sources and Facebook users, we had to clean, resolve and shorten urls.

When cleaning the urls we adhered to the following coding protocol:

Links Network node: Facebook user/group ID Facebook group ID Facebook user/group ID Facebook event ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID YouTube channel ID Rumble channel ID
standard urls shorten to domain

Data analysis: We analysed the data through network analysis and qualitative research. We have also been joined by expert fact-checkers from and, as well as have been in contact with journalists working in Czech in Slovakia who contributed with their expert knowledge. Each language research (except Czech and Slovak) was carried out by a person speaking the language with appropriate contextual knowledge about political, historical and cultural influences in the respective country.

  • Network analysis - we have run modularity algorithms to find communities in our network. Next steps involved labelling those clusters by looking at the biggest or the most centric nodes. Using graph theory, we were able to make conclusions about particular media landscapes, as well as detect post-truth spaces within some of them.
  • Simple statistics - we looked at the number of links that were shared. The most often quoted sources were the ones that required additional scrutiny, as they might have been the ones included in a marketing campaign.
  • GATE annotation services - we run GATE URL domain checker, to see whether urls that we extracted from conversations on Facebook around the war in Ukraine, were flagged by any of the fact-checking institutions that the system is plugged into.
  • OSINT & journalistic research - we have used tools such as WHOIS in order to disclose domain registrants. We performed journalistic research on dubious sources using Google, and Google News.

4. Findings

Czech Republic

Author: Maria Lompe


The cluster of links shared on Facebook in Czech was characterised by a strong pro-Russian bias. Based on the analysis of the network of links plotted in Gephi, we distinguished three large clusters:

Pro-Russian disinformation: The cluster consisted mainly of many Russian sources (, iz.ry,,, which are listed as disinformation domains in the Czech Republic. These domains were linked to mainly by anonymous actors on Facebook. The largest node in this cluster was links to the disinformation TV channel, which was linked to by problematic Facebook pages such as, Hey, občané (with nationalist and far-right sentiments).

Czech conservative sources:,,, Zvedavec, linked to by problematic Facebook groups with nationalist and right-wing tendencies such as (it's really ok to be white, Trikolora Praha). These sources with a nationalist tinge appeared on the list of sites to be blocked by the National Cyber Intelligence Operations Centre after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 (cz.nic 2022).

Mainstream news channels:,,

Interestingly, the cluster of pro-Russian disinformation comes from a wider range of problematic Facebook pages, mostly with a conservative or nationalist slant, which did not openly publish a pro-Russian narrative. In Czech there are big and central nodes of pro-Russian disinformation sources, whereas in Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Poland these sources were present but rather in the periphery. In Czech the content is mostly accessible through sites with Russian domains, alt-right Facebook groups and pages and misinformation Telegram channels relating to the war in Ukraine. Unlike the controversial war-related content circulated in Poland, for example, the links shared by Facebook groups in the Czech Republic did not hide their pro-Russian sympathies. Channels such as,, are funded by Russian sources or are marked as sources spreading pro-Russian disinformation. Such a direct way of spreading pro-Russian disinformation in this language may be related to the current political climate (this study was conducted shortly before the presidential elections) and the presidential candidacy of Andrej Babiš. Moreover, in the Czech Republic a more pro-Russian sentiment can be observed, based on the belief that it is NATO that provokes Russian aggression, and that it is better to be on friendly terms with Russia (GLOBSEC 2020; 5).


Author: Kamila Koronska

While most Slovaks support the state’s official response condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine, the discourse around the Russo-Ukrainian war on Facebook is influenced almost in a similar manner by both mainstream and alt-truth information outlets.

According to researchers from GLOBSEC, a think-tank based in Bratislava, Slovak citizens despite being integrated in the EU and NATO continue to share pro-Russian sentiments that remain one of the strongest in Central Europe. Deeply rooted pan-Slavism traditions are often quoted as the reason. Slovakia’s information landscape remains also vulnerable to foreign influence and there has been evidence showing significant influence from pro-Russian actors.

In the Slovak Facebook network of shared links there are seven dominant clusters. They are often built around important nodes with very different linking and content sharing behaviour. The largest community is centred around “Unknown accounts” belonging to Facebook users who cloak their activities within public Facebook groups. Since the community counts over 600 nodes and shares links to a range of content, we didn’t speculate about reasons for masking their identities. In addition, the cluster shares multiple “problematic sources" understood as those denouncing NATO efforts to curb Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and openly supporting the totalitarian regime of Vladimir Putin. We thus recognise a community with dominant, anonymous actors or sources that show alignment with pro-Kremlin narratives to be an example of what we define as a “post-truth” space.

The most often shared links (84) within this post-truth cluster are to, a news site owned by an obscure Slovak company called MELMAK, s.r.o. According to reports from Czech and Slovak journalists, Melmak is a limited liability company providing marketing services. Melmak was established in 2016 by Stanislav Makovický and appears to operate both in Czech and Slovakia. Articles on are written by anonymous authors. Its readers also won’t be able to find any information about the editorial team or the company in its “About” section. The site is run as a news hub with predominantly short articles discussing current affairs. They are often based on information supposedly sourced from impartial mainstream media. Longer pieces, though scarce in nature, usually have an ideological slant such as when they explicitly criticise the Ukrainian President. The links to the site come from political Facebook groups that seek to found an “alternative democratic government” such as “Nechceme další experiment ODS a STAN s podporou pětiprocentních stran”. Links to “Slovensko Aktualne” are embedded in short, carefully worded posts that promote its articles.

Equally prominent in that cluster is an anti-Western outlet (50 links), and embedded in pro-Russian posts (44 links), that currently returns 500 server error. “Armádny Magazín” is an alleged defence magazine whose domain has been registered by the infamous conservative newspaper in Slovakia, called “Hlavné správy”. The newspaper has been under regulatory investigation for publishing holocaust disinformation and anti-semitic content, according to Slovak media journalist - Filip Struhárik. Among many problematic stories, one can read in the magazine, that Poland “hopes to take a slice of Russia” or that the country is “next after Ukraine" on Ramzan Kadyrov’s map for denazification. The links to “Armádny Magazín '' come mostly from the “Armádny Magazín'' Facebook group that is followed by over 17.000 users, albeit with low engagement. The disparity between low interaction with the content and large following, might be an indication that the Facebook group has been bought and repurposed by its current owner. Since seems to have ceased to exist, we couldn’t verify its content.

On the periphery of the identified post-truth cluster, but equally significant for this community are (84 links) and a Telegram account of The former is a website promoting Pan-Slavism with “Slavs” and “Slavic world” in the navigation bar that unlike “Slovensko Aktuálně” openly supports the Russian side in the conflict, with most recent article disclosing “unseen” footage of Ukrainians using nerve-agent weapons, that Russian state itself, is known to be in possession.

The latter is a Telegram account belonging to someone with an alias of Marek Kurta, that’s been recognised by Czech fact-checkers as one of the “extremist” promoting the war in Ukraine. In the post-truth community, we also observe multiple links to Russian state-owned media, such as Finally, the cluster links extensively to youtube videos that have been removed by authors or blocked by the platform.

Much smaller, but clearly in response to the “post-truth” cluster is mainstream-media and fact-checking cluster driven by links to (70 links). “Info Security”is an initiative aimed at improving information space in Slovakia with fact-check reports and collaborating with Slovak and international mainstream media outlets, such as SME, or the Guardian. All of the links to “Info Security” website and youtube channel in our network came from its Facebook page. The activity around “Info Security” group, together with ah activity around the mainstream Slovak broadsheets SME, and are the main sources criticising Russian invasion of Ukraine, with diem25 representing a more anti-liberal version of it. Sharing the initiative, but having a different modus operandi is hoaxPZ, a specialised unit of the Slovak Police forces that exists to combat hoaxes and fraud activity in online space. Its Facebook page is followed by almost 150.000 users. Unlike “Info Security” however “Hoaxy a podvody” shares mostly links to governmental sources, and to articles or claims that the unit debunks. That’s why for example there’s a visible, strong link between Czech controversial websites - and hoaxPZ nodes.

Another equally important in this network, is a cluster imitating methods of investigative journalists. The community is made mostly of URLs being shared on a Facebook group - to its attached Telegram channel - (50 links). The account counts over 19.000 followers on Facebook, and has over 9.000 subscribers on its Telegram channel. The group of “Investigativna Zurnalistika” (that translates to “investigative journalism”) produces a wide range of stories of which majority can be classified as embodying anti-Ukrainian narratives, such as the one about a psychiatrist from Odessa forging disability documentation for men wanting to avoid “death in the ranks of Zelensky’s army”. Although we weren’t able to independently verify the story, it fits the Kremlin agenda of portraying Ukrainians as weak and corrupted. The account is said to “debunk” pro-Western sources, but in fact most of its media content is quite a standard combination of bad quality video and imagery embedded in text. Despite its boastful name, there is very little OSINT-like content on “Investigativna Zurnalistika” both on its Facebook and Telegram channels.

Almost mirroring its activity, is a cluster made around spravodajska.alternativa Facebook group with links to controversial Russian site, that among many false reports describes Bucha massacre as a “hoax” staged by crisis actors hired by the West. The activity of “Spravadoajska Alternativa” aims to undermine credibility of investigative work of the likes of bellingcat, AFP as well as local organisations such as the aforementioned Slovak’s Police hoax and fraud unit.


Author: Malin Holm

In the Swedish case there were no problematic pro-Russian clusters found, and very few problematic actors/nodes identified. Regarding the incoming links, there are several clusters formed around a few large nodes. These larges nodes are primarily Swedish mainstream media, a few political parties (the Christian Democrats, the Centre Party and the Swedish Green Party), large social media platforms (in particular Facebook (events) and YouTube) as well as a couple of institutions such as the Swedish Church and the Swedish Government and civil society organisations such as the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. There is also one larger and very interconnected cluster of pro-Ukrainian Telegram channels and news services. In the clusters around these there are also a mix of media channels, journalists, politicians, institutions and civil society organisations. There are no suspicious actors visible among those that are the most linked to in the network as a whole, and there are few notable suspicious actors within the clusters around these larger nodes.

Among those posting links, the pattern is much more scattered/dispersed. The whole network is very interconnected, but there are few large nodes. The largest node in the whole network is “Ukraina inifrån” (“Ukraine from the inside”) which is a Facebook Page that is giving first hand information about the war from people within Ukraine. Other large nodes are Svenska Freds (The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society), the Polish Institute in Sweden, Östgruppen (a civil society organisation focusing on Eastern Europe), Nordic Ukraine Forum, and Thomas Gür, a Swedish entrepreneur and conservative/liberal journalist. Regarding “problematic” actors there is a cluster around Kinamedia (news service focused on China) but this includes mostly mainstream media nodes. There are a few smaller nodes in the network that can be characterised as problematic such as “Demokratisk Framtid”, but there are no large clusters around these.

The absence of Russian disinformation in the Swedish context might be seen as a counter-intuitive finding, given that the recent Swedish general elections (in particular in 2014) have been noted for the high risk of Russian disinformation. There are however several possible explanations for the lack of problematic actors and content in relation to the conflict in Ukraine. First, this issue is considerably less salient in the Swedish context in comparison to the neighbouring countries, hence less pro-Russian activity is probably to be expected in Sweden. It is notable that Swedish right wing extremists in general and the Swedish right wing extremist party (which is the second largest party in Sweden with 20.5 % of the vote in the last national elections) the Sweden Democrats (SD) are very absent in the information networks captured on Facebook. SD is normally very active on Facebook and has a large follower base. Even though the party and the party leader (Jimmie Åkesson) are present in the outdegree network neither of them are big nodes nor are they part of a very interconnected and/or large cluster. Rather, the pro-Ukrainian anti-racist organisations are more linked to and active in Sweden concerning this issue.

Moreover, the keywords used to capture the Swedish discourse around the conflict in Ukraine were in Swedish. However, it is not certain that (Russian) actors that intend to spread pro-Russian information in the Swedish social media environment would make the effort to translate this into Swedish since English is such a widely spoken language in Sweden. Hence, we can expect that at least some of the problematic content would be in English. Third, while there has been a high risk for Russian disinformation in relation to some of the recent general elections, the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency (previously the Swedish Contingency Agency) has the last years worked intensively with informing the public about pro-Russian narratives, as well as with trainings of Government personnel and journalists. This has likely increased the resilience against Russian disinformation in the Swedish context, and in the last general elections Russian disinformation campaigns have been largely absent.

The Netherlands

Author: Sam Bouman


In curating the keywords for The Netherlands, both generic and partisan, it was noted that Facebook posts often used more partisan terminology than generic terminology. The mainstream media dominated most of the discourse on Facebook about the war. Despite the fact that news organizations are expected to be impartial in their reporting, Dutch news organizations were often perceived as anything but neutral. Reports and posts on Facebook were primarily portrayed in favor of the Ukrainian side in the war. Partisan keywords such as ‘illegale Russische oorlog’ (illegal Russian war), ‘Russische aanval’ (Russian attack), or ‘Russische invasie’ (Russian invasion) were often seen together with more neutral keywords, for example, ‘kerncentrale’ (nuclear plant) or simply city names, that were used to describe either a specific event or location. All these words were documented into the Master Corpus Output.

In addition to the decline in attention to war-related content in the stream graph, the line charts below indicate how much of this attention was partisan or generic in nature. A partisan content type is either pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian, and a generic content type is neutral in nature. Overall, the content engaged is primarily generic. However, when comparing all the countries together, it becomes clear that some countries are visibly more partisan than others. The line graph of The Netherlands deviates the most from the other countries.

Looking through the content and keywords on Facebook led us to assume that The Netherlands was partisan in its interaction with the war in Ukraine. However, looking at the graph, it can be concluded that The Netherlands is not only partisan but hyper-partisan in its interaction with war-related content on Facebook, seeing as the vast majority of the line graph demonstrates interaction with partisan content (blue) over neutral content (gray). While it remains a speculative observation of current events between Russia and The Netherlands, the hyper-partisan position of The Netherlands could be attributed to an ongoing conflict between the Russian state and Dutch officials related to the downing of a Dutch airplane in Ukrainian airspace, MH17, on the 17th of July 2014. The Joint Investigation Team, composed of The Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium, and Ukraine, has concluded after extensive research that the BUK missile responsible for downing the plane was the property of the Russian army, therefore, leading The Netherlands to hold Russia accountable for the loss of 298 lives (Ministerie van Algemene Zaken, 2020). Until this day, Russia rejects any responsibility for the downing of flight MH17. It puts complete responsibility on Ukraine, stating that “that country should have closed off its airspace” while accusing The Netherlands of leading a sham investigation (Dennekamp, 2021).

Another line graph was used in order to demonstrate the share of pro-Ukrainian (green) versus pro-Russian (blue) content in the recorded interactions on Facebook over time. While The Netherlands has been previously established as hyper-partisan, the line graph demonstrates that most of this interaction takes place with pro-Ukrainian as opposed to pro-Russian content, which is understandable following the ongoing investigation of Russia’s involvement in the plane crash by The Netherlands and Ukraine.

In the Netherlands, problematic sources were in the minority. They consisted of a few anti-governmental Facebook pages, a cluster of linked Dutch military websites, and a small cluster of the extreme right, pro-Russian political party websites called ‘Forum Voor Democratie.’ FVD leader Thierry Baudet has been adamant in showing his support for the Russian side in the war. He states that Putin has “opened up a front against the American Imperium of globalists, who have had a strategic post in Kyiv at least since 2014.” He believes Russia is a contender against the globalist world order (Forum voor Democratie, 2022). Apart from that, mainstream media, civil organizations, and institutional websites dominated the discourse online for The Netherlands, which shows it is following a similar pattern as Sweden.


Author: Aistė Meidutė


  • Majority of information about the war in Ukraine among Lithuanian Facebook groups, pages and verified profiles was circulating in pro-Ukrainian channels mostly led by activists and civic organisations: rusijos informacinis karas, karo ukrainoje kronikos and locked’n’loaded. Users were actively linking to major Lithuanian news media outlets, pro-Ukraine and support for Ukraine Facebook groups.

  • Other active actors spreading information about the war in Ukraine: various support for the Ukraine organisations (допомога україні. вільнюс / pagalba ukrainai. vilnius, pagalba ukrainiečiams допомога українцям,, NGOs, Lithuanian parliament members and local government pages.

  • Analysis revealed the following disinfo clusters:

  • Facebook page Pilietis (engl. Citizen) (and its associated accounts) which was consistently spreading pro-Russian, anti-NATO, anti-Western narratives, misusing information provided by official media news outlets such as Bloomberg, Telegraph, Spiegel, Independent, CNN, Washington Post and promoting American extreme right-wing bias websites.

  • Facebook group Gimtojo Krašto Judėjimas: Už Lietuvą be JAV, ES, NATO imperijos! (engl. Native Land Movement: for a Lithuania without US, EU, NATO Empire) which was mostly sharing links to outer websites related to pro-Russia disinformation and promoting extreme right-wing ideas.

  • Facebook group Правда о Вильнюсских событиях (engl. The Truth about the Events in Vilnius) which was actively promoting Lithuanian diplomat and politician Algirdas Paleckis which was convicted for spying for Russia in July 2021 ideas, sharing external links to Kremlin’s propaganda sites, etc. as well as linking other Lithuanian disinfo spreaders (FB pages Lietuvos kramola, Kovalskisjonas, Erika Švenčionienė, Kazimieras Juraitis and Kristoferis Voiška).

  • website and its partner website -

  • As well as ekspertaiTelegram. is a well known website in Lithuania mostly dedicated to spreading Kremlin's propaganda and anti-West agenda. The website was established by Vaidas Lekstutis together with Martynas Burkauskas, Olegas Titorenko and Vygantas Kelertas. Both Lekstutis and Titorenko have been convicted of anti-state activities (Lekstutis for denying the occupation). Lithuanias’ biggest news website DELFI released an investigative report about the funding sources of the main disinformation spreading actors in Lithuania in which and its founder Lekstutis was mentioned. The same content published in website is disseminated via other platforms too e.g. official Youtube account, Telegram account, TikTok account, Twitter account and Lekstutis Facebook account.

Another website that repeatedly appeared in the analysis is dedicated for republishing anti-Western, pro-Kremlin, anti-Lithuanian government content that is originally disseminated in various disinformation spreading channels and accounts such as PressJazz TV, Labas Žmogau, Marius Jonaitis, Kristoferis Voiška, Vygantas Kelertas, Dainius Kepenis, Rolandas iš pajūrio, LDiena TV, Lietuvos kronikos, Kazimieras Juraitis, Teismo Vikingas, Edgaras Romanauskas, Rasų Vedos, Andrius Lobovas, KLA TV, Kitoks Pasaulis, Humoristinė RimRam TV, Valius Ąžuolas, Milda Bartašiūnaitė and others. content was also disseminated via other platforms such as official Facebook account, Twitter account, Telegram account as well as backed by other disinformation spreaders such as LT Naujienos Facebook account and website.

Telegram accounts Pilietis_1 and ekspertaiTelegram also appeared in the analysis several times. Owners of both of these accounts are well known to Lithuanian fact-checkers as repeatedly spreading disinformation narratives.

The owner of Telegram account Pilietis_1 is Jonas Kovalskis former lawyer at State Social Insurance Fund Board under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (Utena city unit) and ex-candidate to Lithuanian Parliament nominated by a Lithuanian socialist political party called ‘Front Party’ led by later convicted for treason Algirdas Paleckis. Jonas Kovalskis apart from Pilietis_1 Telegram account also manages his official website '', Russian social network Vkontakte account, 'Pilietis' Facebook account, Twitter account and Youtube account where he mostly spreads anti-Western, anti-NATO, anti-USA, anti-Lithuanian ruling conservative party and pro-Russian messages.

Telegram account ‘ekspertaiTelegram’ is managed by an official website witch belongs to a public company registered by the same name ''. A shareholder of '' is a former Lithuania’s MP and actor Audrius Nakas whose ties with other disinformation spreading platforms were revealed in the aforementioned investigation conducted by DELFI. Apart from Telegram and official website were disseminating their content via Facebook account and Youtube account (currently banned) and Twitter account.


Author: Desislava Slavova, Kamila Koronska


Russia and Bulgaria have a contentious and nuanced relationship. Deeply ingrained, historically constrained ideas have collided with a pragmatic, interest-driven approach to Bulgarian-Russian ties, which has been bolstered by targeted propaganda for half a century (Panchugov and Nachev 2022) . All of this is in Russia's favour. Economic pressure (which manifests as political pressure) and popular sentiment are the main drivers of Russian political influence in Bulgarian politics. This was justified by a study on Bulgarian attitudes towards Russia which outlined a common trend—56% positive against 14% negative sentiments (Panchugov and Nachev 2022). This might explain our findings that the Bulgarian population is more interested in engaging with pro-Russian content on Facebook, however, a deeper look should be taken into the actual comments and sentiment expressed via the users. This engagement can be in support of pro-Russian statements but it is also possible that such posts trigger debates between people who openly critique the dissemination of pro-Russian sentiments. In contrast to the results related to the engagement with content on the war in Ukraine, the network analysis shows very little pro-Russian sources. Most of the actors identified within the network are news sites, journalists, politicians and economy analysts who are mostly trying to take a neutral standpoint on the matter. The pro-Russian clusters that include news sites, such as and Russia Today, don't have such strong ties with the rest of the clusters.

When analysing the Facebook network for Bulgaria several different clusters can be distinguished. One of the largest clusters is related to a leading Bulgarian political party (Gerb) that is pro-European. This cluster connects with the three most prominent news sites in Bulgaria (,, When analysing the sources around the biggest cluster in the network ( we can distinguish mostly individual profiles of journalists, politicians, and economic analysts who take a more neutral side on the matter. There is an insignificant amount of Facebook profiles and communities that openly share pro-Russian content. Other smaller clusters are related to various Bulgarian news sites (neutral side). Two influential actors can be distinguished as individual clusters. The first one is the influential journalist Ivo Indjev, who openly critiques the actions of Russia and provides informed and reliable information on the subject. The second one is the Bulgarian Internet pioneer Veni Milanov Markovski who is currently the ICANN's Vice-President for UN engagement in New York. He is openly pro-Ukranian and is also involved in shaing reliable information from a wide variety of sources. There are two separate clusters who are connected to the Russian and Ukrainian embassies in Bulgaria. Most of the sources in the Russian cluster are from Russian news outlets with only a less prominent network of nodes found to express strong positive sentiment towards Russia, such as a Telegram channel called "russophiles", the Facebook page of the official association of "russophiles" in Bulgaria and a fan page of Vladimir Putin.

We have also found evidence of pink slime websites with pro-Russian content:

In total, these four websites have been shared more than 900 times by actors commeting on the war in Ukraine.


Author: Szilvi Német

Hungary’s public sphere has long been consolidated around pro- and anti-government attitudes and this political polarisation seemed to go nowhere in the wake of the war. By mapping the most vocal actors on the topic of the war on Facebook, we’ve once again found evidence of this partisan division together with interesting new findings on opposition echo chambers and entanglements between pro-government with pro-Russian accounts.

Due to the geographical vicinity of Ukraine, Hungary’s involvement in the war was one of the main topics of last year’s parliamentary election which for the 4th time resulted in a landslide victory for the incumbent Fidesz party. While the Fidesz administration protects Russia’s key interests in the country and seemingly obstructs EU legislation sanctioning it, it’s also aided by a giant media conglomerate to stir public opinion in the right direction. The infamous public campaign with atomic bombs sent by Brussels is just one example of that. According to a recent poll, Fidesz voters believe that the United States and Ukraine are more culpable than Russia in escalating the conflict, while results are the exact opposite in the other camp. Pro-government voices often exploit ethnic conflicts between Hungarian minorities and Ukrainians living in Transcarpathia, drawing on both real discriminations and provocations set up by interested parties.

In the Hungarian language, war-related discourse on Facebook is maintained by ca. 4500 actors that form four big and several smaller clusters.

One dominant group is built around mainstream independent media (2120 links), Telex (948), HVG (813), RTL (457) and (444). War coverage by these online news portals is primarily injected into the system by their official Facebook pages, however, a plethora of opposition and anti-government groups also take part in the distribution of these articles. Fact-checking units and outlets that were clearly established as a reaction to post-truth spaces are also part of this cluster (Ellenőrző by Telex and Lakmusz).

The former cop-turned-security analyst, Péter Tarjányi represents the experts within this hub. Tarjányi amassed a significant following on Facebook (237k) and hosts two solo shows (one on Index and another on Spirit FM) dedicated to war-related issues.

Also on the non-governmental pole of the network, but sharply separated from the independent news cluster is a large community defined exclusively by one hyper-partisan site and its local mutations, EzALé The medium, owned by the Hungarian company, Orakulum 2020 Ltd. has made a name for itself with its digital ad spending and innovative micro-targeting that was first tried and tested in the 2019 municipal elections. The portal publishes flashy news with clickbait headlines that variously call Putin ‘a war-criminal Russian dictator’ and ‘Viktor Orbán’s master’. The articles’ arguments tend to reduce complex issues to simplistic answers (that either blame Orbán or Putin).
The main site and the various EzALényeg subpages form a network within a network that has just a few external connections. Due to this factor, this exemplifies what we defined as a “post-truth” space which in this special case takes up the form of an echo chamber.

On the other side of the map, there is a clear overlap between pro-government, far-right, and pro-Russian journalism sites and blogs. Part of them are established pro-government media outlets: Mandiner (892 references), Pesti Srácok (581), Origo (520), and Magyar Nemzet (331) are all controlled by the Central European Press and Media Foundation. These sites, however, receive inlinks from the same groups that reference pro-Russian and fringe far-right websites such as Vadhajtások,, Nemzeti Internet Figyelő, and Orosz Hírek, which accounts for the proximity and partial overlap between the two clusters. These sites are edited by anonymous actors and do not necessarily follow professional journalistic norms. The fact, that pro-government legacy media and these obscure sources attract the same readership can be explained by the similarity of the content they share.

A central position within the pro-Russian cluster is occupied by the Facebook page of Magyar Békekör [The Community for Peace of Hungary]. The initiative was spearheaded in 2014 by Endre Simó with the aim to conduct civil diplomacy and step up against NATO setting foot in the country. The peace mission’s page was referenced 270 times across the network from political parties (Hungarian Workers’ Party) to communities interested in the situation of the Hungarian border with Ukraine.

Gyula Thürmer and the Workers’ Party are the only representatives of institutional politics in the pro-Russian cluster. Until recently, the party has organized several peace protests together with the above-mentioned civil organization. In their public appearances and communications, the party recurrently points to the Ukrainian president, who in their interpretation, poses a physical threat to the Hungarian minorities living in Ukraine. (They regularly mention ethnically targeted forced conscription, an allegation that has been refuted several times due to missing evidence). Also, the party still echoes the slogan ‘the opposition drags Hungary into war' that won for Fidesz the 2022 election.

Next to content creators, we find a bunch of unknown Facebook accounts that deem the above sources worthy of citation: they are spreaders that share links into small groups and communities formed around a specialized interest or political alignment. These groups either amass people who openly stand up for Russia (Friends of Russia, Russia | Россия 🤍💙❤️ 🇷🇺, NOVOROSSIJA), support revisionist ideologies (Let Carpathia be Hungarian land again; Let's fly the Székely flag!) or are simply fans of military gadgets (Military Technology).

Among the groups, one stands out with its peculiar linking and content-sharing behavior that relies mostly on Russian and Arabic sources (such as the state-run TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies, Tsargrad TV, Russia Today, and the English Al Mayadeen). The latter media outlet is a pan-Arabist satellite news channel with a pro-Hezbollah and pro-Syrian government stance. The portal has been reporting on Zelenskyy’s 'Ukrainian Nazi leadership' since the outbreak of the war and has also circulated the theory of bioweapons.


Author: Maria Plichta

  • Several clusters formed around a few central nodes. The largest node represents mainstream Polish news outlets, while other ones correspond to large social media platforms, with Youtube and Facebook being the most prominent. There is also a prominent cluster around crowdfunding sites (such as which, in this context, are primarily used to share donation requests for aid for Ukrainian
  • It is difficult to isolate a particular post-truth space cluster – it seems to be dispersed among the social media platform content.
  • An interesting case of a disinformation site that proliferates its content widely (especially on Telegram) is Lega Artis, a law office with an extremely active blog, ostensibly reporting on all kinds of current events, yet with a clear ideological orientation. The articles commonly use extremely anti-Ukrainian rhetoric and constantly take aim at the Polish government for their pro-Ukraine position (for example, referring to the Polish health minister as a "servant of the Kyivan regime").
  • In conclusion, most of the sources within the network seem to reflect the dominant role of neutral or pro-Ukrainian coverage. While a considerable amount of disinformation sites is present as well, they seem to proliferate in relative isolation from the majority of users. The disinformation sites often engage in a more general dissemination of conspiratorial content, such as anti-vaccine articles.

5. Discussion

The results of the relational analysis proved that there are complex and varied information landscapes across Facebook, that in varying degrees are being infiltrated with pro-Russian propaganda and disinformation.

By an large, our findings confirme other research, such as in the case of Slovakia and Czech Republic, where we observed strong, pro-Russian sentiments on Facebook. On the other hand, we also provided counterintuitive information such as in the case of Poland, where we haven't found a strong indication of pro-Kremlin agenda, which is in contradiction with general public opinion there. This project opens then a discussion about the role of social media in shaping public sentiments, as well as levels of trust in pro-Russian narratives conditioned by the past. Are countries with strong economic, cultural and historical ties with Russia such as Bulgaria more susceptible to pro-Russian agenda? Or can such sentiments be grown by caliberated media campaings?

We also know that in some countries, such as in Poland content moderation on Facebook is done by a few dedicated, fact-checking outlets (AFP, Demagog, NASK, Konrekt24) whereas in other countries the job of hunting misleading or false information remains a solo gig. In Slovakia, to quote the Slovak Spectator this is a work of a "sole AFP fact-checker". It seems only right to then ask questions about meaningful correlation between the work of fact-checkers and health of Facebook information networks.

6. Conclusions

This project is a continuation on previous work done on mapping post-truth spaces concering the war in Ukraine. The continuation of this work is an important, academic endevour, as it allows us to further test the method and improve the breadth of our findings.

7. References

Czech Republic

Hajdu, D., Milo, D., Klingová, K., & Sawiris, M. (2020). GLOBSEC Trends 2020. Central Europe, Eastern Europe & Western Balkans at the times of pandemic.



Sekant pinigus: iš ko gyvena Lietuvos viešosios erdvės paraščių veikėjai, (link)

LRT tyrimas. Kremliaus rėmėjų tinklas Baltijos šalyse: temas ir atlygį derina ambasadose, (link)

The Netherlands (APA)

Dennekamp, G. (2021, September 24). Rusland: niet verantwoordelijk voor neerhalen MH17.

Forum voor Democratie. (2022, October 6). Rusland als serieuze uitdager van de globalistische wereldorde. Forum Voor Democratie.

Ministerie van Algemene Zaken. (2020, March 9). Nederland stelt Rusland aansprakelijk. Neerhalen Vlucht MH17 |


Hajdu, D., Milo, D., Klingová, K., & Sawiris, M. (2020). GLOBSEC Trends 2020. Central Europe, Global vulnerability Index 2021

Filip Struhárik, MediaBrífing: Hlavné správy šíria antisemitizmus, štát sa nimi začal zaoberať, December, 2022, Denník N.


Bulgaria Posts English. “Where Does the Pro-Russian Bias of Facebook Moderators in Bulgaria Come From?,” January 19, 2023. ebook-moderators-in-Bulgaria-come-from.html.

Panchugov, Hristo, and Ivan Nachev. “Bulgaria-Russia Political Relations: Between Rethinking and Commitment.” In Russia and the Future of Europe: Views from the Capitals, edited by Michael Kaeding, Johannes Pollak, and Paul Schmidt, 11–14. The Future of Europe. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022.

Statista. “Bulgaria: Top Social Media Sites Visit Share 2021.” Accessed January 20, 2023. l-media-websites-in-bulgaria/.

Presentation slides or poster (link)

I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
BG-map-2.pngpng BG-map-2.png manage 165 K 11 Feb 2023 - 22:09 KamilaKoronska  
CZECH.pngpng CZECH.png manage 453 K 13 Feb 2023 - 21:21 LompeM Czech_network
Douyin_Sentiments_Video.mp4mp4 Douyin_Sentiments_Video.mp4 manage 84 MB 13 Jan 2023 - 15:37 KefengCao Douyin_Sentiments_Video
Douyin_sentiments_poster.pdfpdf Douyin_sentiments_poster.pdf manage 1 MB 13 Jan 2023 - 13:54 RichardRogers Chinese Douyin Sentiments
LT-map-2.pngpng LT-map-2.png manage 134 K 11 Feb 2023 - 22:09 KamilaKoronska  
Mapping Post-Truth Spaces - Poster.pdfpdf Mapping Post-Truth Spaces - Poster.pdf manage 28 MB 16 Jan 2023 - 09:23 KamilaKoronska Mapping Post-Truth Spaces: Master poster
NL-map-2.pngpng NL-map-2.png manage 229 K 11 Feb 2023 - 21:43 KamilaKoronska  
PL-map-2.pngpng PL-map-2.png manage 419 K 11 Feb 2023 - 22:10 KamilaKoronska  
posttruthspaces1.m4vm4v posttruthspaces1.m4v manage 15 MB 13 Jan 2023 - 15:20 RichardRogers Attention to Ukraine War on Facebook
posttruthspaces_1.pdfpdf posttruthspaces_1.pdf manage 6 MB 13 Jan 2023 - 13:49 RichardRogers Attention to Ukraine War on Facebook
Topic revision: r18 - 17 Apr 2023, KamilaKoronska
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