Dr. Julia Rone

European University Institute, Florence

Julia Rone

Tracing patterns of fake news diffusion and mapping “alternative media” in the hybrid media system

My project traces how fake news diffuse cross-nationally and maps the key online “alternative media” that serve as sources of fake news in five country cases: Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK. The countries have been chosen in order to compare developments in the East and West, North and South of Europe and across media systems that have widely diverging characteristics.

Using a combination of social network and discourse-network analysis, I trace the directions in which fake news diffuse in each of the countries explored, and what types of fake news “cross” country and language boundaries and manage to diffuse transnationally. In addition, I identify the main “alternative media” that serve as sources of fake news, map their connections, and situate them on the left-right political spectrum. Finally, in the context of the current hybrid media system I trace whether these “alternative media” republish news from mainstream media and vice versa.

By producing new analysis and easily accessible visualizations, the project aims to open multiple opportunities for comparisons and further research, as well as to contribute to a more empirically informed public debate, beyond moral panic and easy generalizations.

Main Research Topics

  • Diffusion of information and ideas
  • Digital media and journalism
  • Co-optation of citizen media
  • Online public sphere

Curriculum Vitae

  • Lecturer at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf and at the University of Florence
  • Researcher for the projects “Mobilizing for Democracy”, led by Donatella della Porta, “Politics e policy in europa in tempo di crisi: cause e conseguenze”, led by Manuela Caiani, and “New Cultures, New Youth, New Causes”, led by Ivaylo Ditchev
  • MSc from the Oxford Internet Institute
  • Media observer for “Foundation Media Democracy”, Sofia
  • Journalist for the Bulgarian National Television


  • Rone, J. (Forthcoming, 2018). Hacking and Hacktivism in Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media, Ed. Luis Pérez-González, Bolette Blaagaard & Mona Baker. London: Routledge.
  • Rone, J. (Forthcoming, 2018). Contested international agreements, contested national politics: How the radical left and the radical right opposed TTIP in four European countries in London Review of International Law.
  • Rone, J. (2017). Left in Translation: The Curious Absence of an Austerity Narrative in the Bulgarian 2013 Protests. in The Global Diffusion of Protest: Riding the Protest Wave in the Neoliberal Crisis, Ed. Donatella della Porta. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Rone, J. (2016). The People Formerly Known as the Oligarchy: The Cooptation of Citizen Journalism. in Citizen Media and Public Spaces, Ed. Mona Baker and Bolette Blaagaard. London: Routledge.
  • Rone, J. (2012). The Seducer’s Net: Internet, Politics and Seduction. in Digital Cultures and the Politics of Emotion Feelings, Affect and Technological Change, Ed. Athina Karatzogianni and Adi Kuntsman. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr. Julia Rone

European University Institute, Florence

Fellow at CAIS from April until July 2018