Political Bots, the site that allows you to report political bots

A group of university researchers has created Political Bots, a site where you can report suspicious activity of bot-accounts on social networks

The latest election campaigns have seen a new protagonist on the "battlefield": bots. We are talking about the fake accounts present on the various social networks that post fake news, weakening the political opponent and moving votes that are fundamental for the final victory.

The US election campaign and the one on the British referendum have been the proof. Both Trump and the Leave committee exploited the work of bots to succeed in moving votes in the most important regions. In some cases, the news shared on social networks are blatantly false, but they still manage to break into the minds of users and go viral. For this reason, a group of university researchers has created Political Bots, a site where you can report bot accounts on major social platforms: from Twitter to Facebook, via Weibo and vKontakte.

What is Political Bots

The word bot is nothing more than the diminutive of robot and indicates some algorithms capable of creating and automatically publish content on social networks and any other type of platform (including Wikipedia). Moreover, bots (chatbots, in this case) also have the ability to sustain a meaningful discourse with users. Programming a bot and using it for their own purposes doesn't have a very high cost and that's why they are used in different areas. But in the last period botnets (bot networks) have taken over especially in the world of politics. Some researchers from Oxford University have created a service that allows users to report possible bot accounts on social networks. Il progetto è finanziato dall’americana National Science Foundation, dall’European Research Council e da varie università e l’obiettivo è riuscire a bloccare il numero enorme di bot presenti sulla Rete. Secondi i ricercatori di Political Bots nelle ultime elezioni statunitensi sono stati 19 milioni gli account bot che sono hanno postato sui social network. La maggior parte dei contenuti era Pro-Trump.

Come funziona Political Bots

political-bots-form.jpgFonte foto: Redazione

Ecco il form di Political Bots dove inoltrare la propria segnalazione

Per utilizzare Political Bots è necessario accedere al sito internet del servizio e compilare il form per la segnalazione: si dovrà indicare il giorno in cui si è “incontrato” il bot, su quale piattaforma, l’ID dell’account, l’URL del profilo e si dovrà spiegare brevemente il contenuto dei messaggi. In this way you will participate in the research project of the University of Oxford in the hope of finding a solution to put a brake on the market of bots.

What are the effects of bots on political elections

To say that because of defamatory messages created by bots a candidate has won the elections is practically impossible, since there is no counter-evidence, but it is undoubtedly true that the messages shared on social networks can somehow affect the electorate, especially in those regions where the final result is still in the balance. Bots manage to pass off as good information, what in reality is disinformation. In many cases it's the botnets themselves that quickly spread hoaxes and fake news. With the reckless use of bots what is at risk are the pillars on which our democracy is built. That's why it's important to support projects like Political Bots, at the moment the only solution to stop the action of bots and algorithms.