DOI: 10.36190/2021.42

Published: 2021-06-01
Tactical Reframing of Online Disinformation Campaigns Against The Istanbul Convention
Tugrulcan Elmas, Rebekah Overdorf, Karl Aberer

In March 2021, Turkey withdrew from The Istanbul Convention, a human-rights treaty that addresses violence against women, citing issues with the convention's implicit recognition of sexual and gender minorities. In this work, we trace disinformation campaigns related to the Istanbul Convention and its associated Turkish law that circulate on divorced men's rights Facebook groups. We find that these groups adjusted the narrative and focus of the campaigns to appeal to a larger audience, which we refer to as "tactical adjustment." Initially, the men organized in a grass-roots manner to campaign against the Turkish law that was passed to codify the convention, focusing on one-sided custody of children and indefinite alimony. Later, they reframed their campaign and began attacking the Istanbul Convention, highlighting its acknowledgment of homosexuality. This case study highlights how disinformation campaigns can be used to weaponize homophobia in order to limit the rights of women. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case study that analyzes a narrative reframing in the context of a disinformation campaign on social media.