Facebook And Twitter Being Used To Manipulate Public Opinion.
The Computational Propaganda Research Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, has researched the use of social media for public opinion manipulation. The team involved 12 researchers across nine countries who, altogether, interviewed 65 experts, analysed tens of millions posts on seven different social media platforms during scores of elections, political crises, and national security incidents. Each case study analyses qualitative, quantitative, and computational evidence collected between 2015 and 2017 from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Poland, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States.
With respects to the USA, do bots have the capacity to influence the flow of political information over social media? This working paper answers this question through two methodological avenues: A) a qualitative analysis of how political bots were used to support United States presidential candidates and campaigns during the 2016 election, and B) a network analysis of bot influence on Twitter during the same event. Political bots are automated software programs that operate on social media, written to mimic real people in order to manipulate public opinion. The qualitative findings are based upon nine months of fieldwork on the campaign trail, including interviews with bot makers, digital campaign strategists, security consultants, campaign staff, and party officials. During the 2016 campaign, a bipartisan range of domestic and international political actors made use of political bots. The Republican Party, including both self-proclaimed members of the “alt-right” and mainstream members, made particular use of these digital political tools throughout the election. Credit: Computational Propaganda Research Project.
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