“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. We 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. Experience suggests that political bots are most likely to appear during an international crisis, and are usually designed to promote the interests of a government in trouble. 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.”
Tim Johnson for McClatchy (November 4, 2016): “A stream of recent sneaky tweets and social media posts tell people they can “vote from home” by simply sending a text message, a devious tactic to suppress votes.
The U.S. election is not “American Idol,” and voters cannot – repeat CANNOT! – cast ballots by texting from their cellphones. Twitter says it is taking the tweets down.
The last-ditch appeals underscore a broader issue of concern in an especially contentious political year: the increasing usage of robotic networks, or botnets, to flood the internet in an attempt to influence the election, squelch public debate, spread lies and manipulate voters….”