Political Bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics

Cracking the Stealth Political Influence of Bots

Among the millions of real people tweeting about the presidential race, there are also a lot accounts operated by fake people, or “bots.” Politicians and regular users alike use these accounts to increase their follower bases and push messages. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports on how computer scientists can analyze Twitter handles to determine whether…

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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.

As Artificial Intelligence Evolves, So Does Its Criminal Potential

Imagine receiving a phone call from your aging mother seeking your help because she has forgotten her banking password. Except it’s not your mother. The voice on the other end of the phone call just sounds deceptively like her. It is actually a computer-synthesized voice, a tour-de-force of artificial intelligence technology that has been crafted…

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Bot Tweets Influencing U.S. Election

COMPROP PI Phil Howard contributed to this CBC National news story on bots and the election.

Partisan Twitter bots distorting U.S. presidential candidates’ popularity

@loserDonldTrump wasn’t born yesterday. It was actually the day before. Just after 3 p.m. ET on October 18, the baby bot burst into the Twitterverse. Someone, somewhere, who is clearly not a fan of the Republican presidential nominee, wrote a piece of code for a Twitter account that would fill people’s feeds with anti-Trump messages….

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Digital Mudslingers (in German)

Automatische Bots verzerren politische Diskussionen in sozialen Netzwerken und können Wahlen beeinflussen. Die Kanzlerin hält sie für gefährlich, die AfD will sie einsetzen. Read more in Spiegel Online.

One in four debate tweets comes from a bot. Here’s how to spot them.

Philip Howard has a fancy name for partisan election bots. He calls them “computational propaganda” — and lately, he sees them a lot. On Oct. 14, the Oxford University professor released a paper dissecting bot activity after the first American presidential debate, finding that — among other things — Donald Trump benefited disproportionately. Wednesday, he…

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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    

Donald Trump support during presidential debate was inflated by bots, professor says

Many of the Twitter users supporting Donald Trump after the presidential debates were bots, according to a new analysis. More than four times as many tweets came from automated accounts that supported Mr Trump than they did backing Hillary Clinton, according to Philip Howard from the University of Oxford. Read more in The Independent. 

A third of pro-Trump tweets are generated by bots

University researchers who track political activity on Twitter have found that traffic on pro-Trump hashtags was twice as high as pro-Clinton hashtags during the first presidential debate. But the team of academics, led by Oxford University professor Philip Howard, also found that 33% of pro-Trump traffic was driven by bots and highly automated accounts, compared…

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