The Computational Propaganda Project

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Fake News Bots Are Here

Project member Sam Woolley was interviewed about bots and the 2016 US Election on NPR. How do you judge public opinion on any given issue? What others are thinking? Paying attention to? If social media play into your read, watch out. When it comes to politics in particular, social media can be overrun with, twisted…

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What Facebook Knows

The project’s research and writing was discussed in Vice News. To answer these questions conclusively, academic researchers have said that Facebook could very easily clear the air by releasing more of its data. But just as the company keeps its algorithm under wraps, the company has thus far declined to share broad data about the…

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Fake News is Widely Shared as the Real Thing

Our research into the 2016 US election was covered by the Financial Times. Nearly a quarter of web content shared on Twitter by users in the battleground state of Michigan during the final days of last year’s US election campaign was so-called fake news, according to a University of Oxford study. Researchers at the Oxford…

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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…

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How fake news becomes a popular, trending topic

Our project was featured in a 60 Minutes investigation of ‘fake news’ and disinformation. Phil Howard leads the Internet Institute at the University of Oxford which examines misinformation on social media. They’ve analyzed web traffic in the days before the election in the swing state of Michigan. Scott Pelley: How much of this news on…

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Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media

Our project work was covered in the Guardian. The war of the bots is one of the wilder and weirder aspects of the elections of 2016. At the Oxford Internet Institute’s Unit for Computational Propaganda, its director, Phil Howard, and director of research, Sam Woolley, show me all the ways public opinion can be massaged…

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Trump, Putin and the New Cold War

Our project research on the US Election was mentioned in the New Yorker. On April 12, 1982, Yuri Andropov, the chairman of the K.G.B., ordered foreign-intelligence operatives to carry out “active measures”—aktivniye meropriyatiya—against the reëlection campaign of President Ronald Reagan. Unlike classic espionage, which involves the collection of foreign secrets, active measures aim at influencing…

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On Twitter, a Battle Among Political Bots

The project’s research on the 2016 US Election was featured in the New York Times. People who head to Twitter to discuss their ideals are, often unwittingly, conversing with legions of bots: accounts preprogrammed to spew the same campaign slogans, insults or conspiracy theories hundreds or thousands of times a day. And one of their…

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Automated Pro-Trump Overwhelmed Pro-Clinton Messages, Researchers Say

The project’s research on the US Presidential Election was covered in The New York Times. An automated army of pro-Donald J. Trump chatbots overwhelmed similar programs supporting Hillary Clinton five to one in the days leading up to the presidential election, according to a report published Thursday by researchers at Oxford University. The chatbots —…

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The Trump Twitter Bots Went Hard on Election Day

The project’s research on the 2016 US election was covered in Bloomberg. Donald Trump’s supporters made a surprisingly strong showing on Nov. 8, and not just at polling places in the rust belt. Twitter bots accounted for nearly a quarter of all postings that included hashtags related to the election, according to an analysis by researchers at Corvinus University, Oxford,…

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