Political Bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics

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Call for Papers: Special Issue on Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data

We are pleased to announce a special issue of the journal Big Data dedicated to computational propaganda. This special issue is guest edited by project members Professor Phil Howard and Gillian Bolsover. The deadline for submission is 1 June, 2017 for publication in December 2017. Call for papers:  Computational propaganda—the use of information technologies for…

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Social Media, Civic Engagement, and the Slactivism Hypothesis: Lessons from Mexico’s “El Bronco

Does social media use have a positive or negative impact on civic engagement? The cynical “slacktivism hypothesis” holds that if citizens use social media for political conversation, those conversations will be fleeting and vapid. Most attempts to answer this question involve public opinion data from the United States, so we offer an examination o f…

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Event: 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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NY Times: Automated Pro-Trump Overwhelmed Pro-Clinton Messages, Researchers Say

Work by our PI Phil Howard, Director of Research Samuel Woolley, and Researcher Bence Kollyani was featured in a New York Times article on the role of bots in the US election: SAN FRANCISCO — An automated army of pro-Donald J. Trump chatbots overwhelmed similar programs supporting Hillary Clinton five to one in the days…

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The Trump Twitter bots went hard on Election Day

Our team’s research was covered in a Bloomberg/Mashable article on Bots and election day in the US. — By Joshua Brustein 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…

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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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Daily Beast: How Pro-Trump Twitter Bots Spread Fake News

PI Howard and Director of Research Woolley helped the Daily Beast with a story on how Trump bots were used to spread fake news. … –Using hashtags like #CrookedHillary and #TrumpTrain, automated networks of social-media bots disseminated erroneous information throughout the 2016 campaign, with Trump benefiting– President-elect Donald Trump has credited the strength of his…

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

Our Director of Research Sam Woolley helped a reported with a recent piece on Backchannel. … By Andrew Zelski The 2016 presidential election season is, at last, over. Polls and the press were reasonably certain Hillary Clinton would emerge as the country’s first female president. But the winner, to the shock of many, was Donald…

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The Political Twitter Bots Will Rage This Election Day

PI Howard and DoR Woolley helped with a story in Wired on Bots and Election Day in the USA. — By Davey Alba “She will never win,” Gabriella tweeted emphatically on Monday, hours before the polls opened on Election Day. “Stealing is not winning, it’s losing.” “Hillary Hillary Hillary!” Mel tweeted in the same hour, with equal enthusiasm. As…

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