Elections in Slovakia: Analysis by the Slovak regulator of the narratives disseminated online

posted on 16 April, 2024   (public)

The most prevalent topics are not automatically the most viral: a new perspective on online monitoring

The Council for Media Services undertook an analysis of the narratives on Facebook surrounding the early Parliamentary elections in Slovakia  to gain a better understanding of the online information environment.

In cooperation with civil society organisations Demagó and and with the assistance of data analysis tools, the CMS analysed the recurring trends and patterns on Facebook during the electoral period (from 10 June to 15 October 2023)*.

Published in March 2024, this report conveys information about electoral narratives, provides a new perspective on researching online environments, and suggests further ways of monitoring and analysing the complex realities of the information space. 


  • A quantitative content analysis that identified 57 topics, providing a comprehensive overview of the diversity of discussion on Facebook.
  • Selection of the most relevant topics for a qualitative analysis (16 topics identified as relevant).
  • Qualitative analysis of the 16 topics, divided into four categories: reporting on the activities of political parties affecting the election-related topics, attempts at challenging institutions, awareness-raising campaigns and reporting on the conduct of the elections, and geopolitical context.

Key findings:

  • The most prevalent topics were not automatically the most viral ones.
  • Topics challenging public institutions were both viral and prevalent.
  • Vaccination, rights of the LGBTI+ community and critics towards media and NGOs were topics highly viral but less recurring.
  • A significant amount of content produced by individuals whose accounts were suspended due to repeated violations of Facebook’s terms of use was detected.

Lessons learnt:

- The study could have been more in-depth if it had had access to the number of impressions (“Content Library” tool from Meta currently not open to regulators).

- In order to gain a better understanding of the characteristics and nature of the information environment, it is necessary to examine not only the virality of posts, but also their prevalence.


In February 2024, the CMS published another report on online platforms' monitoring during the electoral period to asess the compliance with their obligations, including a chapter dedicated to deepfakes (see EPRA news). 

*Slovakia held early elections to the National Council of the Slovak Republic on Saturday 30 September 2023. The examined period of the study ends two weeks after the elections. 

Tools used:

- CrowdTangle (a Meta’s tool that will no longer be available after August 14, 2024) for data collection

Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) for topic modelling

- The ‘R’ software programming language (RStudio) for data analysis

- UDPipe package for language processing (a library with the Slovak language)

Source: the CMS