In this talk, Prof Phil Howard explains how we are targeted and manipulated by social media and bots trying to influence voter behaviour.
Since 2012, Professor Howard and team have been investigating the use of algorithms, automation and computational propaganda in public life. Political bots are manipulating public opinion over major social networking applications. This project enables a new team of social and information scientists to investigate the impact of automated scripts, commonly called bots, on social media. They study both the bot scripts and the people making such bots, and then work with computer scientists to improve the way we catch and stop such bots. Political actors have used bots to manipulate conversations, demobilize opposition, and generate false support on popular sites like Twitter and Facebook from the U.S. as well as Sina Weibo from China.
Philip Howard is a professor and writer on the use of digital media for both civic engagement and social control in countries around the world. He is Professor of Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Professorial Fellow at Balliol College.