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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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.

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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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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How Bots, Twitter, and Hackers Pushed Trump to the Finish Line

The project’s research on the 2016 US election was covered in Wiired. Following the third debate, automated pro-Trump accounts on Twitter pumped out seven times more messages than pro-Clinton accounts. Most of these accounts, it turned out, were powered by chatbots: the newest tool in computational propaganda. “It’s definitely one of the most significant digital aspects of this…

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The Political Twitter Bots Will Rage This Election Day

  The project’s research on the 2016 US election was covered in Wired. But how many of these are bots? According to Sam Woolley, a researcher from Oxford University’s Project on Computational Propaganda (which has not been peer reviewed), about 50 to 55 percent of Clinton’s Twitter activity—the likes, follows, and retweets she gets—is from bots, which…

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How pro-Trump Twitter bots are still manipulating the 2016 conversation

Our research on the 2016 US election was covered in the Daily Dot. According to a recent study released by a trio of researchers at Hungary’s Corvinus University, Oxford University in the U.K, and the University of Washington in Washington state, hashtags relating to the last general election presidential debate were flooded with tweets from Twitter bots—automated…

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That pro-Trump Tweet that Made Your Blood Boil? It Probably Came From a Bot

Our research into the 2016 US election was covered by McClatchy. Researchers say highly automated social media engines are working for both major presidential candidates, posing as real people when they are actually just machines. Often, it is difficult to discern who is behind the most diabolical of the social media messages. “It might not…

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