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BOTFIND: Finding Bots, Detect Harassing Automation, and Restoring Trust in Social Media Civic Engagement

Objective

Social media platforms have become tools for manipulating public opinion during elections. In particular, “bots” are algorithms that automate rapid, widespread interactions with citizens, often with deleterious effects on public knowledge of science, social inequality, and public policy options. Through the ERC COMPROP Consolidator award, researchers have demonstrated that even simple bots (i) effectively keep negative messages and fake news in circulation longer (ii) target journalists and civil society groups and (iii) operate with little oversight from social media firms. Such algorithms have negative consequences both for public trust in technology innovation and for the quality of public deliberation in Europe’s democracies. ERC researchers have been able to identify highly automated, politically-manipulative social media accounts post hoc. This project will allow researchers to take what we have learned and produce an online tool that allows people to evaluate suspicious social media accounts. Most social media platforms are slow to address troll and bot activity, so this innovative tool will put ERC research into public service in Europe—and around the world.

Call for proposal

ERC-2017-PoC
See other projects for this call

Host institution

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
Address
Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 149 921

Beneficiaries (1)

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 149 921
Address
Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments