The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

What to watch for when America’s tech giants testify on Russian hacking today

Sam Woolley and Doug Guilbeault wrote an article for Quartz which provides a breakdown of the recent testimony provided to congressional intelligence committees by Facebook, Twitter, and Google to the Senate. This week Twitter, Facebook, and Google will testify publicly before the US Congress about how the Russian government manipulated public opinion during the 2016 US election….

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Twitter has a serious bot problem, and Wikipedia might have the solution

Robert Gorwa wrote a new commentary essay for Quartz on Twitter’s bot policy. Several research projects, including the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute (where I am a researcher), the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab, and the Observatory on Social Media at Indiana University have begun to document the central role of bot accounts in spreading hyper-partisan and misleading “news,”…

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Facebook has so much more to tell us

Phil Howard and Bence Kollanyi wrote an opinion article for the Washington Post, discussing how Facebook could share more data about political advertising and targeting with the public. Facebook and Twitter have taken the important step of handing over thousands of ads to Congress that were bought and circulated by Russian strategists to influence our…

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Social media companies must respond to the sinister reality behind fake news

Phil Howard and Bence Kollanyi wrote an opinion article for the Guardian, discussing the project’s latest research and how social media companies could “design for deliberation.” Social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have begun to share evidence of how their platforms are used and abused during elections. They have developed interesting new initiatives to…

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Hey politicians — don’t hate the internet, hate the game

Project members Sam Woolley and Nick Monaco wrote an opinion piece about bot regulation for TechCrunch. Policymakers’ animus against the internet isn’t new: it’s part of a long trend of suspicion about this medium that challenges all media. Their feelings toward regulation of the web are often muddied by broader trends of political ambivalence toward the actual…

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Tinder nightmares: the promise and peril of political bots

Project members Robert Gorwa and Doug Guilbeault published an article in Wired about the recent use of Tinder bots to target young swing voters in the lead up to the UK’s General Election. In the days leading up to the UK’s general election, youths looking for love online encountered a whole new kind of Tinder…

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Facebook needs to be more open about its effect on democracy

A follow up opinion piece to the project’s most recent UK General Election memo was written by John Gallacher and Monica Kaminska, and published in the Guardian. Facebook and Twitter fast became major electoral battlegrounds in the 2017 general election. It is here that campaigns had the potential to be won or lost. Young voters…

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The Most Important Lesson From the Dust-Up Over Trump’s Fake Twitter Followers

Project members Tim Hwang and Sam Woolley have a new article in Slate discussing bots that follow political candidates. Let’s be clear: Coordinated campaigns of misinformation and manipulation on social media are absolutely real and are becoming an increasingly prominent component of the online media landscape. A variety of state and nonstate actors are increasingly…

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Facebook could tell us how Russia interfered in our elections. Why won’t it?

Team members Phil Howard and Robert Gorwa wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post which calls on Facebook to share important data on potential Russian interference in the 2016 US election, and touches on the importance of not just studying ‘fake news’, but also fake accounts and other false amplifiers. Read the full piece in the Washington Post.

Resource for Understanding Political Bots

We put together this brief write-up for people (concerned citizens, journalists, policy makers, academics, etc.) hoping to 1) understand the use and brief history of political bots, 2) develop ways for spotting political bots on social media platforms and 3) work to understand the role of companies like Twitter and Facebook in moderating bot driven…

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