The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

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…

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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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Woolley and Guilbeault on Bots in The Atlantic

Project members Sam Woolley and Douglas Guilbeault wrote an article on how “Bots are Shaping the US Election” for the Atlantic. All these numbers—social media followings, polls, or statistics—are only as viable as the tools used to get to them. Political campaigns worldwide now use bots, software developed to automatically do tasks online, as a…

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Bots Unite to Automate the Presidential Election

Phil Howard and Sam Woolley wrote an article on the 2016 US election for Wired Magazine. But as the power of bots grows, so does the capacity for misuse. Bots now pollute conversations around topics like #blacklivesmatter and #guncontrol, interrupting productive debate with outpourings of automated hate. We’ve seen antivaccination bots reach out to parents…

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These are the Droids You’re Looking For: Bots as a Tool For Journalism

This originally appeared as “These are the Droids You’re Looking For:  Bots as a Tool For Journalism” by Samuel Woolley and Phil Howard on the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance Blog. In today’s data-saturated world journalists often struggle to report on many, if not most, of the potential stories that come across their…

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Botifesto: How To Think About Bots

This originally appeared as “How to Think About Bots” by Samuel Woolley, danah boyd, Meredith Broussard, Madeleine Elish, Lainna Fader, Tim Hwang, Alexis Lloyd, Gilad Lotan, Luis Daniel Placios, Allison Parrish, Gilad Rosner, Saiph Savage, and Samantha Shorey on February 23rd 2016 on Motherboard. We live in a world of bots. Generally speaking, these sets of…

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