Political Bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics

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…

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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.

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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US election: experts fear Twitter bots could spread lies and sway voters

Few would disagree that Donald Trump’s supporters are enthusiastic on Twitter. And during the first US presidential debate against rival Hillary Clinton, it was no different. Millions of tweets were sent out by people commentating on the heated head-to-head. But a new study has found that a fair few of the pro-Trump tweets could have…

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When Bots Tweet: Toward a Normative Framework for Bots on Social Networking Sites

Political actors are using algorithms and automation to sway public opinion, notably through the use of “bot” accounts on social networking sites. This article considers the responsibility of social networking sites and other platforms to respect human rights, such as freedom of expression and privacy. It then proposes a set of standards for chat bots…

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Where Do Bots Come From? An Analysis of Bot Codes Shared on GitHub

An increasing amount of open source code is available on the Internet for quickly setting up and deploying bots on Twitter. This development of open-source Twitter bots signals the emergence of new political economies that redistribute agencies around technological actors, empowering both the writers of the bots and users who deploy a bot based on…

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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,…

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Watch out for the Brexit bots

As the Brexit vote draws closer, undecided voters will need to make up their minds. Some will turn to friends and family. Others will turn to news channels. A piece of advice: Whatever you do, avoid Twitter. Out of 1.5 million tweets between June 5 and June 12, 54% were pro-Leave, 20% were pro-Remain and…

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