The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

As a conservative Twitter user sleeps, his account is hard at work

Our project’s work was covered in the Washington Post. CHICAGO — Daniel John Sobieski, 68, climbed the stairs in his modest brick home and settled into a worn leather chair for another busy day of tweeting. But he needn’t have bothered. As one of the nation’s most prolific conservative voices on Twitter, he already had…

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Fake News: Why the West is Blind to Russia’s Propaganda Today

Our research was covered in the Sydney Morning Herald. On social media, bots (short for robots) are small programs that automate the posting of and reply to messages. Political campaigns in democracies have used bots in recent years, not always achieving the effects they desired. But last year, they began to be exploited in a…

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Logo of journal Big Data

Call for Papers: Special Issue on Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data

We are pleased to announce a special issue of the journal Big Data dedicated to computational propaganda. This special issue is guest edited by project members Professor Phil Howard and Gillian Bolsover. The deadline for submission is 1 June, 2017 for publication in December 2017. Computational propaganda—the use of information technologies for political purposes—is on…

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Social Media, Civic Engagement, and the Slactivism Hypothesis: Lessons from Mexico’s “El Bronco

Does social media use have a positive or negative impact on civic engagement? The cynical “slacktivism hypothesis” holds that if citizens use social media for political conversation, those conversations will be fleeting and vapid. Most attempts to answer this question involve public opinion data from the United States, so we offer an examination o f…

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Fake News & Bots

Sam Woolley was interviewed about the project’s research on Oregon Public Radio. Automated social media accounts known as ‘bots’ may be used to distort political perception online. We speak with research director Samuel Woolley of the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Project to learn more about this phenomenon. Listen to the interview here.

Pizza, politics and pure fiction: the rise of fake news

The project’s research was featured in The Telegraph. Intended fake news sites, according to Philip Howard, a professor at Oxford university’s internet institute, are split between the purely ideological and those driven by cash – hoping to maximise clicks on their link or site to secure advertising dollars. It’s impossible to tell the difference on…

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On Twitter, a Battle Among Political Bots

The project’s research on the 2016 US Election was featured in the New York Times. People who head to Twitter to discuss their ideals are, often unwittingly, conversing with legions of bots: accounts preprogrammed to spew the same campaign slogans, insults or conspiracy theories hundreds or thousands of times a day. And one of their…

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The US Election and Disinformation @ IFTF

Director of Research Samuel Woolley gave a talk on November 11, 2016 at an event sponsored by the National Democratic Institute and the US State Department. The theme of the event, which was held at the Institute for the Future, was the role of disinformation during the US Election. Dan Swinslow of NDI wrote the…

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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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Automated Pro-Trump Overwhelmed Pro-Clinton Messages, Researchers Say

The project’s research on the US Presidential Election was covered in The New York Times. An automated army of pro-Donald J. Trump chatbots overwhelmed similar programs supporting Hillary Clinton five to one in the days leading up to the presidential election, according to a report published Thursday by researchers at Oxford University. The chatbots —…

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