What is Beam?
Beam began as a partnership between ISD and CASM in 2015 which, from the beginning, had two key emphases: capability to detect information threats at scale, and also more effective ways of responding to them.
Underlying Beam is a fundamental technology called Method52, developed by CASM Technology. It allows human-centred researchers to design their own data collection and analysis ‘architectures’ comprised of any one of around 100 different components on Method52.
Beam brings together a number of architectures on Method52 that the users of Beam move between flexibly.
Beam Collect gathers data from Twitter, public Facebook Groups and Pages, YouTube, Instagram, Telegram, Reddit, Discord, 4Chan, Mastodon, PeerTube, MediaCloud, and RSS feeds and brings it together into a single format.
Beam Messages brings together technology to categorise and split apart social media messages based on the language that they contain, including named entity recognition, geo-parsing, narrative discovery and classification, hate speech and social velocity scores.
As key narratives are discovered, users will typically use Beam Accounts to analyse behaviour at the account level as well as individual messages. This includes, for instance, account-level patterns related to the propagation of disinformation narratives, and ‘power-user’ analysis of the most prolific accounts.
This allows users to find patterns between groups of accounts, including network discovery, language, mention, follower, engagement and link mapping, and common behaviours.
Beam Window produces outputs from Beam, including dashboards, data visualisations, regular reporting and alerts that are used to power responses to information threats.