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Before, during, and after the 2018 Italian election, several controversial cases raised concerns over the impact of problematic information on the democratic process. Mapping Italian News (MINE) was designed to address these concerns by analyzing a set of political news stories and their patterns of engagement on Facebook and Twitter. We estimated the political leaning and insularity of 634 news sources, found that populist parties tend to rely on insular media sources, and detected patterns of interactions on Facebook that seem to be significantly affected by the insularity of the source and the sentiment toward different political actors. This project is conceived as a follow-up of MINE. Limits in publicly available data hindered investigating the crucial question of whether the observed behaviors of online partisan communities are strategically organized or spontaneously grassroots. Grounded in existing literature, we thus designed a set of measures and related research questions to tackle this issue.
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