Political Bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics

As a conservative Twitter user sleeps, his account is hard at work

CHICAGO — Daniel John Sobieski, 68, climbed the stairs in his modest brick home and settled into a worn leather chair for another busy day of tweeting. But he needn’t have bothered. As one of the nation’s most prolific conservative voices on Twitter, he already had posted hundreds of times this morning — as he ate breakfast, as he chatted with his wife, even as he slept — and would post hundreds of times more before night fell.

The key to this frenetic pace was technology allowing Twitter users to post automatically from queues of pre-written tweets that can be delivered at a nearly constant, round-the-clock pace that no human alone could match. In this way, Sobieski — a balding retiree with eyes so weak that he uses a magnifying glass to see his two computer screens — has dramatically amplified his online reach despite lacking the celebrity or the institutional affiliations that long have helped elevate some voices over the crowd.

Read more in The Washington Post.

BotsSamuel C. WoolleyThe Washington PostTwitterTwitter botsU.S. politics

Gillian Bolsover • February 6, 2017


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