The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Q13 TV: Social Media Bots During the Elections

Our Director of Research Sam Woolley appeared on Seattle’s Q13 television channel to discuss the potential effect of bots on the US election.    

Bots and Automation over Twitter during the Second 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 U.S. Presidential debate. In this brief analysis we find that (1) Twitter traffic on pro-Trump hashtags…

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Bots and Automation over Twitter during the First 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 U.S. Presidential debate. In this brief analysis we find that (1) Twitter traffic on pro-Trump hashtags…

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IJOC: Political Communication, Computational Propaganda, and Autonomous Agents — Introduction

The Internet certainly disrupted our understanding of what communication can be, who does it, how, and to what effect. What constitutes the Internet has always been an evolving suite of technologies and a dynamic set of social norms, rules, and patterns of use. But the shape and character of digital communications are shifting again—the browser…

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Stay Woke with Help From a Bot

The project’s research was covered in Fast Company. “I don’t think Twitter should outright ban bots,” says Sam Woolley, who researches computational propaganda at the University of Washington. “Good bots are acting like information radiators for activists; they can be used as a social or civil prosthesis for communities that lack voice. But they shouldn’t…

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Creativity and Critique: Gap Analysis of Support for Critical Research on Big Data

We define big data as large amounts of information, collected about many people, over multiple devices. We define critical big data research as efforts to demonstrate how flaws—ethical or methodological—in the collection and use and of big have implications for social inequality. There are many critical and creative big data research endeavors around the world. Here…

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Bots Unite to Automate the Presidential Election

Phil Howard and Sam Woolley wrote an article on the 2016 US election for Wired Magazine. But as the power of bots grows, so does the capacity for misuse. Bots now pollute conversations around topics like #blacklivesmatter and #guncontrol, interrupting productive debate with outpourings of automated hate. We’ve seen antivaccination bots reach out to parents…

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These are the Droids You’re Looking For: Bots as a Tool For Journalism

This originally appeared as “These are the Droids You’re Looking For:  Bots as a Tool For Journalism” by Samuel Woolley and Phil Howard on the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance Blog. In today’s data-saturated world journalists often struggle to report on many, if not most, of the potential stories that come across their…

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Prezi: Campaign Bots & The Law

Here is an interactive Prezi on our recent paper “Campaign Bots & The Law”, authored by Ryan Calo, Lisa Manheim, Sam Woolley and Phil Howard. It was presented at the Yale Information Society Project’s “Unlocking the Black Box” conference, and we identify the ways in which bots, when used by political campaign managers, may make…

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Presentations at SXSW 2016

Project Researchers Samuel Woolley and Phil Howard presented twice at SXSW this year. There was a “Book Reading” of Pax Technica: The “internet of things” is the expanding network of everyday objects—you can expect some 35 billion connected devices by 2020. The internet won’t be about your mobile phone or laptop anymore, it will be dominated…

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