Partisan Twitter bots distorting U.S. presidential candidates’ popularity
The project’s research on the 2016 US election was featured in the CBC.
What sort of volume is out there? It’s — pardon the phrase — huge. And it’s especially huge in favour of Donald Trump. Philip Howard, a professor of internet studies at Oxford University’s Internet Institute, estimates that fully a third of all the tweets in favour of Donald Trump — and there are millions of them — are generated by automated accounts. Both Howard and Rubec believe that some accounts can pump out as many as 10,000 pro-Trump posts a day.
Meanwhile, automated accounts appear to be responsible for only a quarter of pro-Clinton tweets. And in raw numbers, there are far fewer of those.
At its most basic, says Howard, automated posts in favour of Trump tend to outpace those in favour of Clinton at a rate of four to one.