The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Social media is a very good way to spread bot-driven propaganda: report

Our recent case study series was covered in Salon: The University of Oxford has released a series of studies called the “Computational Propaganda Research Project.” These document the extent to which social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are being manipulated to promote political propaganda. “During the 2016 campaign, a bipartisan range of domestic and international political…

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Political bots are poisoning democracy – so, off with their heads

Our case study series was covered in an article published in the Conversation: Propaganda bots posing as people are increasingly being used on social media to sway public opinion around the world. So says new research from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, which found automated accounts and other forms of social media propaganda are…

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Russia-linked ‘computational propaganda’ campaigns seen distorting public opinion worldwide

The recent project case study series was covered in the Japan Times: The Oxford University team presented research in Washington on the use of automated programs, or “bots,” on social media aimed at influencing politics in nine countries, including the United States. “Computational propaganda is one of the most powerful new tools against democracy,” said…

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Twitter und Facebook müssen mehr gegen politische Propaganda unternehmen

Our case study series and the project’s German case study were discussed in an article for the German publication Heise Online:    Die sozialen Netzwerke Twitter und Facebook werden in diversen Ländern massiv dafür genutzt, die öffentliche Meinung zu manipulieren. Sie sollten mehr dafür sorgen, den politischen Einfluss einzudämmen, fordert das Projekt Computational Propaganda Research…

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Social media ‘bots’ from Russia distorting global politics: study

Our recent case study series was covered in a Yahoo story, with a focus on the Russia report written by Sergey Sanovich: In Russia, the researchers said they found 45 percent of the political conversation is dominated by “highly automated accounts.” While Twitter was an effective tool for pro-democracy activists during the Arab Spring movements…

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Computational Propaganda in the United States of America: Manufacturing Consensus Online

As part of our new country case study series, project members Sam Woolley and Doug Guilbeault investigated the use of bots and other false amplifiers in the US. Abstract: Do bots have the capacity to influence the flow of political information over social media? This working paper answers this question through two methodological avenues: A)…

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Computational Propaganda in Poland: False Amplifiers and the Digital Public Sphere

As part of our new country case study series, project member Robert Gorwa investigated computational propaganda in Poland. Abstract: This report provides the first overview of political bots, fake accounts, and other false amplifiers in Poland. Based on extensive interviews with political campaign managers, journalists, activists, employees of social media marketing firms, and civil society…

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Computational Propaganda in Russia: The Origins of Digital Misinformation

As part of our new country case study series, project member Sergey Sanovich investigated the role of bots and other false amplifiers in Russia.  Abstract: Digital propaganda of the Russian government seeks to insulate Putin’s leadership from any domestic challengers and aid in his foreign policy ventures, which increasingly sets Russian interests off against the…

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Computational Propaganda in Germany: A Cautionary Tale

As part of our new country case study series, project member Lisa-Maria Neudert investigated computational propaganda in Germany. Political actors are using algorithms in efforts to sway public opinion. In some circumstances, the ways coded automation interacts with or affects human users are unforeseeable. In others, individuals and organizations build software that purposefully targets voters,…

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Computational Propaganda in Canada: The Use of Political Bots

As part of our new country case study series, project members Fenwick McKelvey and Elizabeth Dubois investigated the use of political bots in Canada. Are bots active in Canada? Yes. Are they influential? Maybe. Using a combination of quantitative social media analysis, content analysis of news articles and qualitative interviews, we study the use of…

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