Political bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics

Junk News and Bots during the U.S. Election: What Were Michigan Voters Sharing Over Twitter?

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 data on automation and junk news using major hashtags related to politics in the state of Michigan in…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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

During the third and final presidential debate of the 2016 election, Twitter was flooded with jokes about nasty women and bad hombres. Political pundits, both professional and amateur, battled it out on the field of ideas—which, at this point in the national political discourse, consisted of a lot of juvenile name-calling. It was alternatively chaotic…

Continue Reading

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

 A stream of recent sneaky tweets and social media posts tell people they can “vote from home” by simply sending a text message, a devious tactic to suppress votes. The U.S. election is not “American Idol,” and voters cannot – repeat CANNOT! – cast ballots by texting from their cellphones. Twitter says it is taking…

Continue Reading

Woolley and Guilbeault on Bots in The Atlantic

Director of Research Sam Woolley and affiliate researcher Douglas Guilbealt wrote a piece on how “Bots are Shaping the US Election” for The Atlantic. — There is power in numbers, or so the saying goes. But statistics mean different things to different people. Take Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, for instance. Last week, the conservative…

Continue Reading

Pro-Clinton Bots ‘Fought Back but Outnumbered in Second Debate’

Web robots dedicated to posting pro-Hillary Clinton tweets appear to have become more vocal in the second US presidential debate, says a study. But it adds that pro-Donald Trump bots saw an even bigger gain in activity, giving the Republican a potential advantage on the social network. Read more on the BBC.

Social Media Bots During the Elections

Our Director of Research Sam Woolley recently appeared on Seattle’s Q13 television channel to discuss the potential effect of bots on the US election. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1kT4Agxn3Q    

Inside Trump’s ‘cyborg’ Twitter army

When Donald Trump confronted revelations that he used money from his charitable foundation to settle private legal disputes and purchase portraits of himself, a tireless army of tweeters went to work to keep the focus on Hillary Clinton’s foundation instead. Then Trump stumbled on a debate question about why he refuses to release his taxes,…

Continue Reading

Let’s Make Candidates Pledge Not to Use Bots

Bots — chunks of computer code that generate messages and replicate themselves — have been infecting political discourse around the world. They have been spotted try to influence elections in the United Kingdom, Mexico and just recently, South Korea. Politicians there have been using bots to torment their opponents, muddle political conversations, and misdirect debate….

Continue Reading