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Computational Propaganda

The Impact of Algorithms and Automation on Public Life
by

Phil Howard

on 20 September 2016

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Transcript of Computational Propaganda

Computational Propaganda
The use of information and communication technologies to manipulate perceptions, affect cognition, and influence behavior.

Political bots are amongst the latest, and most pervasive, innovations in computational propaganda.
Observations
1) Bots are used for social control by strict regimes.
2) They are a transnational phenomenon.
3) They are used by political actors in democracies.
Methods & Output
Gobal Event Data Set
International Fieldwork
Computational Theory
Algorithmic Tactics
Twitter bombing (Tibet)
Techno-censorship (Mexico)
Falsifying following (Italy)
False Flagging (US)
Honeypotting (UK)
Computational Propaganda
The Impact of Algorithms and Automation on Public Life

Phil Howard
Professor, Oxford University
@pnhoward
This work can be cited as COMPROP. (2016). Computational Propaganda: The Impact of Algorithms and Automation on Public Life [Prezi]. Retrieved from politicalbots.org. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Political Bots
A
bot
is a software program that automates tasks on the web, including social media platforms.

A
political bot
engages with other users about politics and public policy, mainly over Twitter and Facebook.
What is the impact of political bots on public life?
Bot Identification
Strongly negative, effusively positive, or obviously irrelevant.
Few links, photos of real people, or organizations behind posting.
Exact wording of the post replicated across several popular accounts.
Few posts, all about a single issue.
Unclear answers given to question.
Second Workshop in London, Spring 2017
Global Inventory of "Cyber-troops"
Bots and Election Law in the US
A Bot Typology
Controllers
faking, manipulating and jamming discourse
Propaganda bots
Follower bots
Gridlock bots

Facilitators
sharing, spreading and challenging discourse
Journalism bots
Protest bots
Activism bots
Full transcript