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The course of the conversation over the last nine months, polarization and the role of the media

The journalistic revelations about the Greek wiretapping scandal have intensified the user engagement in the digital conversation. About 70% of the relevant tweets are posted by accounts that tend to mostly follow parties and members of the political Left than the Right. In any case, this conversation continues to polarize the two groups. iMEdD Lab and Datalab present a research collaboration analyzing the conversation about the wiretapping scandal on Twitter.
polarization graph

After eight months of journalistic and other investigative revelations about the case of wiretapping and eavesdropping in Greece, which has not been on the mainstream media agenda, users actually began to discuss the issue in late July 2022, when it was made public and widely broadcasted that the MEP and president of PASOK-KINAL, Nikos Androulakis, reported the attempted wiretapping of his cell phone. From that moment onwards, the wiretapping scandal conversation on Twitter is sustained and peaking every time there is a major journalistic revelation or an event of political significance that is widely covered by the media, as shown by the analysis of the total volume of 953,722 tweets from the social medium studied, between April 1, 2022 and January 14, 2023. Indicatively, most tweets regarding the subject of wiretapping are recorded on August 5, 2022, the date of the resignation of the Secretary General of the Prime Minister Grigoris Dimitriadis and the head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Panagiotis Kontoleon.

It is estimated that 70% of the total tweets between April 1 and December 1, 2022, were posted by accounts that tend to follow mostly left-wing parties and political figures, while only 20% of the volume of posts seems to come from users who follow mostly right-wing parties and political figures. At the same time, the conversation about the wiretapping case on Twitter appears to be polarized, in terms of like-mindedness: visualizations of account networks show that users form groups, presumably of similar views, and interact with each other. For example, the image above shows the user network on August 5, 2022.

party graph influence

In the graph network visualization, users who follow mostly left-wing accounts (red) and those who follow mostly right-wing accounts (blue) are shown to be discussing in two distinct and non-overlapping groups. The side image depicts the network of participants in the conversation on the wiretapping case and the interactions between them from April 1, 2022 to December 1, 2022. The graph network visualization illustrates, to a large extent, the interaction of users by groups: those who follow mostly New Democracy and its party members (blue), those who follow SYRIZA (orange), MeRA 25 (yellow) and their party members and those who follow KKE (red), PASOK-KINAL (green) and their party members respectively.