2015 was a decisive year in Europe. Hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived from war-torn Syria and beyond, walking their way through the Balkans into the EU. The largest mass migration in Europe since the 1940s brought significant changes to the continent's politics, media and public discourse. The Budapest-born financier George Soros's Open Society Foundation (OSF) sought insight into the shifting public sentiment on the refugee crisis in his own country. As the world's media descended on Budapest's Keleti Station, we worked with the OSF to form cogent strategies on Hungary's new 'illiberal' state. Insights from our human-based qualitative approach to social media informed important human rights policy, discovered unexpected threats, and promoted open society.