The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Please Prove You’re Not a Robot

The project’s research was featured in a New York Times column written by Tim Wu. Robots posing as people have become a menace. For popular Broadway shows (need we say “Hamilton”?), it is actually bots, not humans, who do much and maybe most of the ticket buying. Shows sell out immediately, and the middlemen (quite…

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Government ‘Cyber Troops’ Manipulate Facebook, Twitter, Study Says

The project’s recent paper on government efforts to manipulate public opinion online was covered by Bloomberg. Governments around the world are enlisting “cyber troops” who manipulate Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to steer public opinion, spread misinformation and undermine critics, according to a new report from the University of Oxford. Adding to growing evidence…

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How Bots Win Friends and Influence People

Project PI Phil Howard was interviewed for a short article in IEEE Spectrum. Every now and then sociologist Phil Howard writes messages to social media accounts accusing them of being bots. It’s like a Turing test of the state of online political propaganda. “Once in a while a human will come out and say, ‘I’m not a…

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Computational Propaganda Worldwide: Executive Summary

We’re very excited to announce the launch of our case study series on computational propaganda in 9 different countries. Find the executive summary, written by Sam Woolley and Phil Howard, here. The Computational Propaganda Research Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, has researched the use of social media for public opinion manipulation. The…

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Phil Howard on Danish Television

Project PI Phil Howard appeared on DR, the Danish TV station, to discuss some of the project’s latest research. The full episode is available here [interview begins in the second half of the programme].    

Oxford profs tell Twitter, Facebook to take action against political bots

Our recent research was covered in The Register, a leading technology news site: The use of algorithms and bots to spread political propaganda is “one of the most powerful tools against democracy”, top academics have warned. A team led by professors at the Oxford Internet Institute analysed tens of millions of posts on seven social…

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Facebook and Twitter are being used to manipulate public opinion – report

Our case study series on computational propaganda worldwide was covered in the Guardian: Propaganda on social media is being used to manipulate public opinion around the world, a new set of studies from the University of Oxford has revealed. From Russia, where around 45% of highly active Twitter accounts are bots, to Taiwan, where a campaign…

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COMPROP Briefing Tour (London, Washington DC, Palo Alto)

Our team presented the latest research about the manipulation of public opinion over social media. This briefing helped ground a group conversation about the prospects for improving deliberative democracy and provide a first look at the Lab’s most recent research findings from a series of country specific case studies. The event will include an executive…

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Junk News and Bots during the 2017 UK General Election

Computational propaganda distributes large amounts of misinformation about politics and public policy over social media platforms. The combination of automation and propaganda can significantly impact public opinion during important policy debates, elections, and political crises. We collected Twitter data on bot activity and junk news using a set of hashtags related to the 2017 UK…

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How social media filter bubbles and algorithms influence the election

Our project work was featured extensively in a Guardian article about the British Election. ‘One of the most powerful players in the British election is also one of the most opaque. With just over two weeks to go until voters go to the polls, there are two things every election expert agrees on: what happens…

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