Online Data and the Insurrection

In this volume examining the centrality of media around January 6th, Megan A. Brown contributes a chapter exploring why online data is key to understanding the leadup to the insurrection.


Online data is key to understanding the leadup to the January 6 insurrection, including how and why election fraud conspiracies spread online, how conspiracy groups organized online to participate in the insurrection, and other factors of online life that led to the insurrection. However, there are significant challenges in accessing data for this research. First, platforms restrict which researchers get access to data, as well as what researchers can do with the data they access. Second, this data is ephemeral; that is, once users or the platform remove the data, researchers can no longer access it. These factors affect what research questions can ever be asked and answered.