Research – The Greek wiretapping scandal on Twitter: The course of the conversation, polarization and the role of the media

Who is taking part in the online conversation about wiretapping, and who holds the most sway in shaping the debate? What political parties do content creators mostly follow and interact with on Twitter? Is there polarisation among the users participating in the debate? What is the role of the media and at which point did the issue gain mainstream media attention? How has the online debate developed and changed over time?

In light of recent media revelations surrounding the Greek wiretapping scandal, the iMEdD Lab and the Datalab of the Department of Informatics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki have launched a collaborative research project to analyse the course of the conversation about the wiretapping scandal on Twitter. The research, titled “The Greek wiretapping scandal on Twitter: The course of the conversation, polarization and the role of the media” began in November 2022 and was conducted retrospectively, covering the period from April 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

Research Findings Summarised in Key Takeaways

-Media coverage fueled increased participation in online conversation about wiretapping scandal

-Users primarily share and repost content, rather than creating original posts

-Around 70% of posts are created by accounts that tend to follow left-leaning political parties and officials

-Polarisation is evident among users participating in the online debate

-35% of accounts that post original tweets about the topic are media outlets and journalists.

Although the wiretapping scandal had been in the public eye for over a year, it only gained significant media attention and began dominating the news when it was revealed that MEP and president of PASOK-KINAL, Nikos Androulakis, reported an attempt to wiretap his mobile phone. The event received widespread coverage by the media and led to an increase in discussions about the issue on Τwitter.

An analysis of Twitter posts reveals that there has been an ongoing discussion about wiretapping on Twitter from the end of July onwards. Each time there is a major journalism revelation or a politically significant event that receives widespread media coverage, the conversation becomes increasingly heated.

As an example, a significant spike in Tweets about wiretapping was observed on August 5, 2022, following the resignation of the Secretary General of the Prime Minister, Grigoris Dimitriadis, and the Greek Intelligence Chief Panagiotis Kontoleon.

To gain deeper insight and keep track of the issue, visit the Datalab web app.

Research/Data Analysis & Visualisation:

Ilias Dimitriadis, Stelios Karamanidis, Pavlos Sermpezis (Datalab)

Datalab Director: Professor Athena Vakali

Additional research assistance:

Dimitrios-Panteleimon Giakatos, Vasilis Psomiadis (Datalab)

Phoebe Fronista (iMEdD)

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

To learn more about the hashtags and keywords used to gather data for this research, as well as for further details on the research methodology, please follow this link.