An Evolving (Dis)Information Environment – How an Engaging Audience Can Spread Narratives and Shape Perception: A Trident Juncture 2018 Case Study

  • Katrin Galeano
  • Rick Galeano
  • Nitin AgarwalEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


This chapter provides an overview of the evolving YouTube information environment during the NATO Trident Juncture 2018 exercise. The spread of information is no longer solely driven by information actors publishing content on social media, but also by the audience that interacts with it. Engagement features, such as comments and replies, allow an audience to interact with the publisher and other users. This research focuses on the impact that commenters on YouTube have on boosting influence for channels. YouTube channels are able to interact with their audience in the comment section which can be used and abused to spread messages and disinformation. This study focuses specifically on YouTube comments posted around the 2018 Trident Juncture exercise, the largest NATO exercise in recent decades, and identifies how commenters propel video’s popularity while potentially shaping human behavior through perception. YouTube is the most popular social media site for video sharing. With that, YouTube channels influence human network behavior by shaping perceptions; simultaneously, commenters on these channels boost search engine results which promulgates higher returns on search engines. Presented is an in-depth analysis of comments and commenters on YouTube channels covering Trident Juncture. Comments by individuals drove both popularity and perception. Additionally, commenters helped in amplifying the messages of the channels. This research reveals effective communication strategies that are often overlooked but highly effective to gain tempo and increase legitimacy in the overall information environment.


Commenter Co-commenter NATO Information maneuver Disinformation Social network analysis YouTube Social media engagement Social hysteria propagation Information actor analysis Discourse analysis Manipulation and deception analysis Online deviant behavior Trident juncture Information environment Algorithmic manipulation 



This research is funded in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation (OIA-1920920, IIS-1636933, ACI-1429160, and IIS-1110868), U.S. Office of Naval Research (N00014-10-1-0091, N00014-14-1-0489, N00014-15-P-1187, N00014-16-1-2016, N00014-16-1-2412, N00014-17-1-2605, N00014-17-1-2675, N00014-19-1-2336), U.S. Air Force Research Lab, U.S. Army Research Office (W911NF-16-1-0189), U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (W31P4Q-17-C-0059), Arkansas Research Alliance, and the Jerry L. Maulden/Entergy Endowment at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding organizations. The researchers gratefully acknowledge the support.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Arkansas at Little RockLittle RockUSA

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