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Computational Propaganda: Investigating the Impact of Algorithms and Bots on Political Discourse in Europe

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 648311

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2016

  • End date

    31 December 2020

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 980 112

  • EU contribution

    € 1 980 112

Hosted by:

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

United Kingdom

Objective

Social media can have an impressive impact on civic engagement and political discourse. Yet increasingly we find political actors using digital media and automated scripts for social control. Computational propaganda—through bots, botnets, and algorithms—has become one of the most concerning impacts of technology innovation. Unfortunately, bot identification and impact analysis are among the most difficult research challenges facing the social and computer sciences.

COMPROP objectives are to advance a) rigorous social and computer science on bot use, b) critical theory on digital manipulation and political outcomes, c) our understanding of how social media propaganda impacts social movement organization and vitality. This project will innovate through i) “real-time” social and information science actively disseminated to journalists, researchers, policy experts and the interested public, ii) the first detailed data set of political bot activity, iii) deepened expertise through cultivation of a regional expert network able to detect bots and their impact in Europe.

COMPROP will achieve this through multi-method and reflexive work packages: 1) international qualitative fieldwork with teams of bot makers and computer scientists working to detect bots; 2a) construction of an original event data set of incidents of political bot use and 2b) treatment of the data set with fuzzy set and traditional statistics; 3) computational theory for detecting political bots and 4) a sustained dissemination strategy. This project will employ state-of-the-art “network ethnography” techniques, use the latest fuzzy set / qualitative comparative statistics, and advance computational theory on bot detection via cutting-edge algorithmic work enhanced by new crowd-sourcing techniques.

Political bots are already being deployed over social networks in Europe. COMPROP will put the best methods in social and computer science to work on the size of the problem and the possible solutions.

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

€ 1 980 112

Beneficiaries (1)

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 1 980 112

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 648311

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2016

  • End date

    31 December 2020

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 980 112

  • EU contribution

    € 1 980 112

Hosted by:

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

United Kingdom