Bot or not? Vice’s Motherboard has a piece up today — a “botifesto,” if you will (or if you must) — that gives a comprehensive rundown of just how useful, harmful, and ultimately inescapable bots are to our digital lives.

Bots, “[g]enerally speaking these sets of algorithms are responsible for so much on the backend of the Internet,” are used everywhere from sharing up-to-date information on earthquakes to launching a DDoS attack on a news site following publication of an important cover story. They deliver information in Slack, sharing breaking news or helping human editors decide which stories will likely take off on social media. The New York Times’ Election Bot is even helping send 2016 presidential election questions straight to the newsroom.

Read more in Nieman Labs.


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.