The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Can Social Media be Fixed?

Samantha Bradshaw appeared on BBC radio to discuss one of the hottest questions of the moment: ‘Can Social Media be Fixed’? Political manipulation and fake news have shaken trust in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make 2018 the year of big changes on the social media giant….

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IRL Podcast: Bot Or Not

Lisa-Maria Neudert and Tim Hwang appeared on an episode of Mozilla’s ‘IRL Podcast’ to discuss the use of bots in politics. From politics to poetry, bots are playing an increasingly visible role in culture. Veronica Belmont investigates the rise of social media bots with Lauren Kunze and Jenn Schiffer. Butter.ai’s Jack Hirsch talks about what…

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Social media companies could face big fines in Germany if they don’t remove hate speech

Lisa-Maria Neudert spoke with Public Radio International about the German NetzDG hate speech law. “When we’re addressing issues of [fake news] and computational propaganda, a lot of the time that narrative is that we cannot regulate social media companies and we [that we] cannot put social media companies in a position where they are accountable,”…

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Russian tweets on Brexit were minimal, study shows

The project’s latest research was featured in the Financial Times. More than 100 Russia-linked Twitter accounts published posts about Brexit in the run-up to the UK referendum, according to independent research which adds to pressure on the messaging platform to publish its own analysis. Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute, part of Oxford university, sought…

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Did Russia Meddle in Brexit? A Social Media Study Casts Doubt

The project’s latest memo on Russian involvement in Brexit was covered in the New York Times. An academic study set to be released on Tuesday casts doubt on speculation that Russia might have exploited social media to try to influence Britain’s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. Academics, lawmakers and journalists have raised the possibility that…

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‘Little evidence’ Russia influenced Brexit vote through social media, study finds

The project’s latest memo on Brexit was covered by Yahoo News. The Oxford Internet Institute, part of Oxford university, says that, despite the Kremlin exploiting Twitter and Facebook during the 2016 US election, it is not clear it meddled in the EU Referendum. MPs asked social media companies for details after suspicions were raised that Russia moved to influence a Leave…

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Russian Involvement and Junk News during Brexit

Several prominent UK politicians are concerned about the role of Russian troll and bot accounts in public conversation over social media during the Brexit debate in 2016. Looking at our archive of Twitter conversation we find that (1) the Russian Twitter accounts shared to the public, contributed relatively little to the overall Brexit conversation, (2)…

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Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data: Moving Toward a More Critical Research Agenda

Computational propaganda has recently exploded into public consciousness. The U.S. presidential campaign of 2016 was marred by evidence, which continues to emerge, of targeted political propaganda and the use of bots to distribute political messages on social media. This computational propaganda is both a social and technical phenomenon. Technical knowledge is necessary to work with…

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Perspective: Should We Regulate Digital Platforms?

I invited Phil Howard and Gillian Bolsover in November of 2016 to guest edit this special issue of Big Data on ‘‘Computational Propaganda.’’ I am delighted at the collection of academic papers that they have curated on the subject, which is front and center at the moment. Politicians, journalists, and scholars grapple with how and…

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Social Bots: Human-Like by Means of Human Control?

Abstract: Social bots are currently regarded an influential but also somewhat mysterious factor in public discourse and opinion making. They are considered to be capable of massively distributing propaganda in social and online media, and their application is even suspected to be partly responsible for recent election results. Astonishingly, the term social bot is not well…

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