Our research was covered in the Sydney Morning Herald.

On social media, bots (short for robots) are small programs that automate the posting of and reply to messages. Political campaigns in democracies have used bots in recent years, not always achieving the effects they desired. But last year, they began to be exploited in a much more directed manner toward Western election campaigns. For example, before Britain’s referendum on European Union membership in June, about 1 per cent of Twitter profiles generated one-third of traffic on the issue, according to the Computational Propaganda project at the Oxford Internet Institute.”Most of those were bot accounts,” says Samuel Woolley, director of research of the project. “They were tweeting automatically and they generated tons of content.

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Note: This post was originally published on the Political Bots research blog on . It might have been updated since then in its original location. The post gives the views of the author(s), and not necessarily the position of the Oxford Internet Institute.