Political Bots

Project on Algorithms, Computational Propaganda, and Digital Politics


Research Featured on BBC Click

Our research was featured in a segment of the BBC show Click, about the role of social media bots in modern political communication.

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Creativity and Critique: Gap Analysis of Support for Critical Research on Big Data

We define big data as large amounts of information, collected about many people, over multiple devices. We define critical big data research as efforts to demonstrate how flaws—ethical or methodological—in the collection and use and of big have implications for social inequality. There are many critical and creative big data research endeavors around the world. Here…

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Watch out for the Brexit bots

Our #Brexit work was featured in the Quartz piece “Watch Out for the Brexit Bots” on June 22, 2016: From over 313,000 accounts sampled, a third of the tweets—half a million—came from less than 1% of the accounts, according to researchers Philip Howard and Bence Kollanyi. No human can manually generate so many tweets repeatedly….

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Beware the Brexit bots: The Twitter spam out to swing your vote

Our work on Brexit Bots was featured in “Beware the Brexit bots: The Twitter spam out to swing your vote” on the website for the New Scientist: Watch out for the ballot bots. As the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union draws near, researchers are increasingly concerned about automated social media accounts that might be…

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These ‘bots’ could sway the Brexit vote

Our paper on Brexit Bots was featured in “These ‘bots’ could sway the Brexit vote” on CNBC: Automated social media accounts are being used by both sides in the Brexit debate, a new report shows, with some experts fearing that a sudden surge in activity by the “bots” could influence the referendum vote.


Three Research Appointments in Computational Social Science

**Update 23/09/2016 These posts have been filled, but we will likely advertise again, along similar themes, in a year.   We are looking for three talented researchers to join our team of computational social scientists at Oxford.  Ideally, we’d like to have one person interested in the sociology of algorithmic production, another interested in the policy…

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Bots, #StrongerIn, and #Brexit: Computational Propaganda during the UK-EU Referendum

Bots are social media accounts that automate interaction with other users, and they are active on the StrongerIn-Brexit conversation happening over Twitter. These automated scripts generate content through these platforms and then interact with people. Political bots are automated accounts that are particularly active on public policy issues, elections, and political crises. In this preliminary…

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A $1 Million Fight Against Hillary Clinton’s Online Trolls

Helped with a story on the Atlantic about Hillary Clinton’s response to online trolling. “A lot of digital campaign strategy is experimental and run for fear of losing,” Phil Howard, a professor at the Oxford Internet Institute said. “No one wants to be the team who lost because they didn’t try a particular strategy, but that…

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How Twitter Bots Could Sway the Outcome of the Presidential Election

We helped with this story on Killscreen: In the midst of the most unprecedented election season in recent history, questioning the political power of technology is now more important than ever. Over on Wired, Samuel Woolley and Phil Howard investigated how social platform’s could be changing the course of history with propaganda bots. Elsewhere, Twitter…

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Video: Politics, Propaganda, and Bots–The Changing Nature of Cyber Warfare

The News Impact Summit London on the theme, “Trolls, Corruption, Falsehood: Reporting ‘Truth’ in the Digital Age”. The event was held on Thursday 12 May 2016 at the Sheikh Zayed Theatre on the campus of London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  

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