The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Social Media, Revolution, and the Rise of the Political Bot

Uprisings and protests worldwide, from the Arab Spring across North Africa and the Middle East to Euromaidan in the Ukraine, have made use of social media in creative ways. Activists use these online tools in efforts to mobilize, organize, and publicize their grievances. Yet scholars take differing positions on the effectiveness of social media as…

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Political Bots and the Manipulation of Public Opinion in Venezuela

Social and political bots have a small but strategic role in Venezuelan political conversations. These automated scripts generate content through social media platforms and then interact with people. In this preliminary study on the use of political bots in Venezuela, we analyze the tweeting, following and retweeting patterns for the accounts of prominent Venezuelan politicians…

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Ecuador is Spending Millions on Malware, Pro-Government Trolls

Sam Woolley wrote an article about bots in Ecuador for Global Voices. According to researchers, the upswing in the Ecuadorian government use of social media to influence public conversations and media coverage correlates with a similar rise in government-driven trolling by governments worldwide. Media watchdogs, activists and academics have been closely watching the rise Twitter…

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More than 26 million people have changed their Facebook picture to a rainbow flag. Here’s why that matters.

Phil Howard was featured in a Washington Post story on digital activism. “Profile picture campaigns are effective in showing the friends and family in your social network that you have some affinity for a political candidate or cause,” said Philip Howard, a sociologist at the University of Washington and the director of the Digital Activism…

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The Internet of Things is Poised to Change Democracy Itself

Phil Howard wrote an article about the Internet of Things for Politico. This might sound unlikely at first, and it won’t be felt right away. But it’s important to realize that when we look at the Internet of Things, we’re seeing a technology, or rather a technological system, that will not just pose challenges for…

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How Big Is The Internet of Things and how Big Will It Get?

Phil Howard wrote an article about the political impact of the Internet of Things for The Brookings Institution’s TechTank blog. New information technologies have transformed world politics, and not always for the better. Even trying to understand how technology connects us reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet. To understand what the Internet is becoming,…

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Review: Pax Technica in the FT

Phil Howard’s book, Pax Technica, was reviewed in the Financial Times. The subject of this book — the emerging “internet of things” — could not be more timely and important; and its central premise — that this new stage in the evolution of the web has political implications that will match or even outstrip its…

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Bring on the Bots

Sam Woolley and Tim Hwang wrote about bots for Civicist. Over the last several years, in fact, journalists have increasingly reported on cases of politicians using bots worldwide during contested elections and security crises to pad follower lists, spam and disable activists, and send out pro-government propaganda. That unsavory actors are using bots globally to…

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Why the Internet Should Be a Public Resource

Phil Howard wrote an article about internet governance for the Yale Books Blog. The excitement of this year’s CES—the enormous technology show and tell event that just ended in Las Vegas—was about the “internet of things.” Stoves and baby bottles will soon be smart, and the devices you already have will be smarter. Behind closed…

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Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up

Should we fear or welcome the internet’s evolution? The “internet of things” is the rapidly growing network of everyday objects—eyeglasses, cars, thermostats—made smart with sensors and internet addresses. Soon we will live in a pervasive yet invisible network of everyday objects that communicate with one another. In this original and provocative book, Philip N. Howard…

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