Political bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: International Law and the Future on Online PsyOps

Recent years have seen an explosion of activity from states and non-state actors seeking to manipulate online political discourse at home and abroad. These efforts have leveraged a range of different techniques, from the use of swarms of automated bots to the systemic spreading of misleading or outright fabricated information through social media. Most dramatically,…

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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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Bots and Automation over Twitter during the U.S. Election

Bots are social media accounts that automate interaction with other users, and political bots have been particularly active on public policy issues, political crises, and elections. We collected data on bot activity using the major hashtags related to the U.S. Presidential Election. We find that that political bot activity reached an all-time high for the…

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Bots and Automation over Twitter during the Third U.S. Presidential Debate

Bots are social media accounts that automate interaction with other users, and political bots have been particularly active on public policy issues, political crises, and elections. We collected data on bot activity using the major hashtags related to the third U.S. Presidential debate. We find that automated pro-Trump accounts became even more aggressive in this…

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Cracking the Stealth Political Influence of Bots

Among the millions of real people tweeting about the presidential race, there are also a lot accounts operated by fake people, or “bots.” Politicians and regular users alike use these accounts to increase their follower bases and push messages. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports on how computer scientists can analyze Twitter handles to determine whether…

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Bot Tweets Influencing U.S. Election

COMPROP PI Phil Howard contributed to this CBC National news story on bots and the election.

Partisan Twitter bots distorting U.S. presidential candidates’ popularity

@loserDonldTrump wasn’t born yesterday. It was actually the day before. Just after 3 p.m. ET on October 18, the baby bot burst into the Twitterverse. Someone, somewhere, who is clearly not a fan of the Republican presidential nominee, wrote a piece of code for a Twitter account that would fill people’s feeds with anti-Trump messages….

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Digital Mudslingers (in German)

Automatische Bots verzerren politische Diskussionen in sozialen Netzwerken und können Wahlen beeinflussen. Die Kanzlerin hält sie für gefährlich, die AfD will sie einsetzen. Read more in Spiegel Online.

One in four debate tweets comes from a bot. Here’s how to spot them.

Philip Howard has a fancy name for partisan election bots. He calls them “computational propaganda” — and lately, he sees them a lot. On Oct. 14, the Oxford University professor released a paper dissecting bot activity after the first American presidential debate, finding that — among other things — Donald Trump benefited disproportionately. Wednesday, he…

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Donald Trump support during presidential debate was inflated by bots, professor says

Many of the Twitter users supporting Donald Trump after the presidential debates were bots, according to a new analysis. More than four times as many tweets came from automated accounts that supported Mr Trump than they did backing Hillary Clinton, according to Philip Howard from the University of Oxford. Read more in The Independent. 

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