Data challenge submissions and relevant instructions are available on GitHub.

Challenge data is available via this link in Google Drive.

Co-located at ICWSM 2022, 6th June 2022 - Atlanta, Georgia (US) and online

This workshop seeks to establish the limits of current capabilities in understanding the role and use of images in online political discourse, from misinformation and disinformation to political advertising and mobilization.
Freelance photographer journalist takes a photo of a public demonstration

Imaging Protests

Exposure to images of demonstrations impact mobilization

Meme critical of common core math

Memes as Political Discourse

Memes are increasingly used to criticize political topics, provide vectors of incidental exposure to topics, and can influence public discourse

Flag for the baseless conspiracy theory, QAnon Image courtesy of Crider

Sharing conspiracy theories

Images serve as a vector for exposure

Images and Online Political Discourse

Visual media has long been a key element of political discourse, and as new online media spaces increasingly focus on imagery (e.g., Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok), new opportunities arise to study how politicians, political elites, and regular users use such imagery. Despite these advances, our understandings of how images are used for online political discussion, mobilization, advocacy, information sharing, and online manipulation lag behind our understandings of text.

This workshop exists in this context, with two core objectives: First, we wish to establish the current state of the art in its ability to handle the variety of imagery used in online social spaces. Second, we intend to allow individuals to advance this state of the art by releasing a dataset of images and two related challenge problems for understanding and tracking the use of images in political discourse.

Call for Papers

We invite both long- and short-form papers. These papers will be archived in ICWSM’s workshop proceedings unless authors request otherwise.

Topics include:

  • Analysis of different types of images (photos, memes, cartoons, etc),
  • Impacts of variation in image types on political mobilization,
  • Use of screenshots to circumvent platform moderation,
  • Identifying symbols of hate in online discourse,
  • Image appropriation for anti-social messaging,
  • Characterizing similar images,
  • Integrating message context with visual media,
  • Use of images across multiple platforms,
  • Images and misinformation,
  • Images as disinformation-campaign vectors, and
  • Subtle symbols embedded in images.

Papers should be submitted through EasyChair and use the AAAI author kit.

The workshop invites authors to submit three types of papers:

  • Core Researcher Papers (8+ pages)
  • Work-in-Progress Papers (<4 pages)
  • Practitioner Papers (1-2 pages)

Core research papers must contain novel, previously-unpublished material related to the topics of the workshop. Accepted papers will be presented orally and will appear in the workshop proceedings. Work-In-Progress papers are shorter and meant to describe smaller, more focused research findings or research that is still in progress. Both of these paper types undergo a rigorous peer-review process and will be archived in the workshop proceedings, unless otherwise asked by the authors.

Practitioners are also invited to submit core and work-in-progress papers, but we recognize that academic review may not be appropriate for practitioner contributions. These authors may instead submit a brief 1-2-page paper that will not be included in the proceedings. We encourage submissions describing real-world experiences and case studies of interest to the workshop audience. These submissions will be reviewed according to relevance and ability to contribute to discussions.

Awards for Best Papers and Best Posters

At the workshop, we will share awards for the best paper and best data challenge poster! We look forward to seeing your submissions and recognizing as many as we can.

Data Challenges

This workshop includes a data challenge, wherein we will release a large-scale dataset of images used by politicians, images shared by disinformation agents, and a sample of images shared in otherwise political contexts. Using this dataset, we are soliciting solutions to address the following challenges:

  1. Challenge 1: Identifying Anti-Social Imagery – Classify images as containing anti-social symbols or presenting an anti-social message. Where possible, provide either explanation or highlighted area of the image associated with the anti-social behavior. Systems will be evaluated on classification performance.

  2. Challenge 2: Characterizing Online Influence Campaigns by their Imagery – While many efforts have worked to characterize influence campaigns (foreign or domestic, inauthentic and authentic), much of these efforts focus on text despite the multi-modal nature of these campaigns. Text is cheaper to produce and analyze, but images are more expensive and more engaging, making images both a potential vector for identifying coordinating accounts and key modality for measuring impact. This challenge asks for systems to use image-characterization methods to classify social media accounts into authentic or campaign accounts, where the campaign label is decomposed into sub-labels across several influence campaigns.

  3. Challenge 3: Tracking Screenshot Sharing and Propagation – As screenshots are increasingly used for reporting quotes and actions of elites across platforms, methods for tracking and attributing these screenshots to individuals are increasingly useful for establishing provenance and propagation paths. To this end, we must first understand how to separate screenshots of duplicate content. Systems submitted for this challenge will identify and cluster duplicate screenshots while being robust to cropping or resizing.

Data Challenge Posters

Submissions for the data challenge are expected to submit one-page papers describing their approach, which they will then present during the workshop.

Datasets for these challenges are available via this link in Google Drive.

This dataset is organized into folders per account, so you get a sample of images per account. In this folder, you will find:

Training Data

  • - Samples of accounts and associated images across six classes, two authentic groups (congress from US Congresspeople and political_images from a sample of politically engaged US Twitter accounts) and four inauthentic groups.
  • - Links to datasets that can be used for training to identify specific screenshots.

Challenge Data

  • challenge_data.large - A large dataset of 2,095 accounts and about 21 images per account.
  • challenge_data.small - A small dataset of 411 accounts and about 21 images per account. This dataset is a subsample of the large dataset.


  • Data Challenge Release: February 24th
  • Paper Submission: April 8th
  • Paper Notification: April 29th
  • Camera-Ready Paper Submission: May 6th
  • Data Challenge Poster Submission: June 1st
  • ICWSM22 Workshop Day: June 6th

Data Challenge Going Forward

Data challenge submissions and relevant instructions are available on GitHub.

To submit, check out those directions, fork our repository, add your runs, and submit a pull-request. We’ll run our evaluation code against your submission and add them to the leaderboard.


Morning Session

Lunch (12:00-1:30)

Afternoon Session


image-left Jungseock Joo
Departments of Communication and Statistics, UCLA.

image-left Andreu Casas
Department of Communication Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

image-left Cody Buntain
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park.

image-left Dhavan Shah
School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

image-left Erik Bucy
College of Media and Communication, Texas Tech University.

image-left Zacharcy Steinert-Threlkeld
Public Policy, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.