Modelling the moral panic button (MPB) using traditional and NLP models

The research aims to investigate the functioning of the Moral Panic Button (‘MPB’, a long-term manipulation technology created by the government) in online media and on Facebook. As part of the research, an existing database (a corpus extracted from SentiOne, consisting of articles and posts containing the keywords Soros and/or migration, written between February 2019 and February 2022) is analysed using both traditional methods and natural language processing (NLP) techniques. Within the database, various sub-corpora are also created of articles/posts related to the coronavirus epidemic within each subset. Various NLP techniques have been adopted to investigate the relationship between government-friendly and non-government-friendly actors and the narrative proxies generated by different combinations of the three keywords (Soros, migration, COVID-19, and their ‘synonyms’), as well as the likelihood of the existence of proxies (i.e. specific framing, specific terminology, character assassination, etc.) suggesting the existence of MPB.


Project participants
Jakab Buda
Eszter Farkas
Anna Molnár
Zsófia Rakovics
Aleksandra Samoniek
Ádám Stefkovics


Gerő Márton, Sik Endre. ‘Needn’t bother to press it now’ – the moral panic button (MPB) and the general elections of 2022. In Az állandóság változása, szerk.: Böcskei Balázs, Szabó Andrea, Gondolat/TK PTI, Budapest, pp. 65–86, 2022

Kerényi Péter, Sik Endre. Insight into the latest push of the moral panic button. Mozgó Világ, 11:15–27., 2022


Conference papers
Sik Endre. The Symphony of the Moral Panic Button – Prelude and Four Movements, HWK Fellow Lecture, 2021