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'Armies' of Twitter Bots Bolster Both The Trump And Clinton Campaigns (technewsworld.com) 214

An anonymous reader writes: During the first U.S. presidential debate, "automated accounts were tweeting messages with hashtags associated with the candidates. For example, #makeamericagreatagain or #draintheswamp for Trump; #imwithher for Clinton," according to TechNewsWorld. They cite researchers at PoliticalBots.org, who "found that one-third of all tweets using pro-Trump hashtags were created by bots and one-fifth of all Clinton hashtags were generated by automated accounts."

In addition, "Political actors and governments worldwide have begun using bots to manipulate public opinion, choke off debate, and muddy political issues... We know for a fact that Russia, as a state, has sponsored the use of bots for attacking transnational targets... We've had cases in Mexico, Turkey, South Korea and Australia. The problem is that a lot of people don't know bots exist, and that trends on social media or even online polls can be gamed by bots very easily."

After the second presidential debate, "Pro-Clinton bots 'fought back'," reported the BBC, adding that they were still outnumbered by the Trump bots.
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'Armies' of Twitter Bots Bolster Both The Trump And Clinton Campaigns

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2016 @04:38PM (#53180417)

    That's OK, Twitter fights back against the Trump bots by blocking hashtags from trending. When the FBI reopened the investigation into Hillary's emails, several pro-Trump hashtags (naturally) started trending ... briefly. Then Twitter caught on and suppressed them from appearing in the Trending list.

    The same does not apply to pro-Hillary hashtags, of course. Despite the fact that Trump hashtags frequently get many times more tweets than Hillary's hashtags (and if you assume those 33%/20% bot percentages are true and adjust for that, still more legitimate tweets), they're frequently blocked from trending.

    And Twitter wonders why no one wants to purchase them.

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @05:32PM (#53180705)

      Here's what Wikipedia has to say about totalitarianism.

      Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through an all-encompassing propaganda campaign that is disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror.

      When Twitter, Facebook or "Project Include" embark on a mission to quiet Trump supporters, when they collude to create an anti-Trump narrative, when they support the sabotage of Trump conferences, they're not liberal heroes working for the greater good of America. They're the vanguard of an intolerant movement that threatens democracy. Those people are far more dangerous than Trump.

      • if Twitter and Facebook were extensions of the United States Government. Last I checked they were privately corporations. I suppose the argument could be made that it's bad for their shareholders to take sides, but the opposite could be made too. There's plenty of arguments to be had that a Trump presidency would be a disaster of trade wars and depressions if he implemented the policies he keeps saying he will. I'm not going to debate that topic right now, but I'm saying it's out there.
        • Yeah, because a private corporation absolutely cannot be a pawn of political power. What's the privately owned cable news channel that the left loves to bash as being a mouthpiece for the right, again?

          • The problem is, they can't see their own BS flowing from the MSM complex. They hate "Faux News" because it offers an alternative to the now fully exposed Left-Wing Press Corps. It is why they beat up a homeless black woman ("she deserved it") because she was defending the Trump Star in Hollywood. No, they aren't anti Homeless or AntiBlack, but if it were a Clinton Star, it would be pinned on Trump and his "radical supporters". Meanwhile the MSM doesn't cover it, or any number of crimes being committed by di

        • We don't have a state-run media. We have a media-run state. The mainstream media outlets are all owned by the same 6 mega-corps that all have similar interests, and similar interests to the billionaires who control FaceBook and Twitter. These are the same companies that own the politicians. So the corporations choose the policies they want, the politicians enact them, and then their propaganda media brainwashes the populace with ridiculous moral arguments to convince them that of course, the government igno

      • When Twitter, Facebook or "Project Include" embark on a mission to quiet Trump supporters, when they collude to create an anti-Trump narrative, when they support the sabotage of Trump conferences, they're not liberal heroes working for the greater good of America. They're the vanguard of an intolerant movement that threatens democracy. Those people are far more dangerous than Trump.

        A tip for you, Twitter and FB are not state run media. Just like Fox News and Breibart they are entitled to run whatever bullshit they like, and you equally have the choice to switch off.
        Trump doesn't want you to have that choice, he even says this and retards still support him. That is more dangerous to democracy than any western leader in the last 70 years.

      • They "create an anti-Trump narrative" by reporting the things that he says and does. And most of it Trump is happy to double-down on. The only thing he doesn't double down on is Putin-bros (he did at one time) and pussy grabbing. Personally I'm surprised he didn't double-down on pussy-grabbing, it at least shows a little restraint on his part.
        • Let me know when the MSM starts to spend any amount of time on the ongoing Clinton Scandal Saga.

          When the MSM spends 50 minutes on Trump's "said mean things" to every minute of Clinton actually doing something illegal, immoral or unscrupulous, it is a narrative, and not actual news.

          I can almost hear your rebuttal, "The MSM did cover _____ scandal of Clinton".

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @04:48PM (#53180455)

    Twitter is a cesspool of corporate and political propaganda, self-righteous indignation, and minor celebrities trying to make a name for themselves. Why does anybody listen to the crap these people post?

    • Twitter is a cesspool of corporate and political propaganda, self-righteous indignation, and minor celebrities trying to make a name for themselves. Why does anybody listen to the crap these people post?

      Because the "common man" still has the vote.

      • Because the "common man" still has the vote.

        What does the "common man" have to do with Twitter? The kind of people who inhabit Twitter are pretty much the opposite of the "common man".

    • and these people vote how they feel, not how they think. Twitter/Facebook could tip a close election. Both sides in this election feel it'll be a disaster if the other side wins. This isn't like Bush/Gore where we all though it was 6 of 1, half a dozen... That's why we care.
    • Twitter is a cesspool of corporate and political propaganda, self-righteous indignation, and minor celebrities trying to make a name for themselves. Why does anybody listen to the crap these people post?

      Admirably brief. Doth the lady (or gentleman) protest too much? Looks like a Twitter-trained response to me.

      Returning to your Comment Subject:

      Re:why does anybody care?

      My response is "Concision". Yes, Twitter is a cesspool on its best days, and much worse the rest of the time, but the quest for brevity brings a clarity to the mimes. There are a few gems there. Don't bet on finding any, mostly due to the TwitterBots of this selfsame story.

      As usual, I try to see things in terms of solutions, and one solution that could add significan

      • In spite of my verbosity I confess to significant experience with Twitter. I think the most recent gem of a meme might be the realization that the so-called Republican Party has given up on winning presidential elections by fair means.

        And if you have been paying attention to the news, the so-called Democratic Party has also given up on winning presidential elections by fair means.

        My response is "Concision". Yes, Twitter is a cesspool on its best days, and much worse the rest of the time, but the quest for b

        • by shanen ( 462549 )

          Thank you for your constructive contribution to the survival of Slashdot.

          Or the opposite.

          I regard the "conversational exchange" as pointless and closed, but lately that just seems to be the Slashdot way.

          My memory might be playing tricks on me. After all it is getting harder and harder to remember when Slashdot wasn't a total waste of time. Should I gamble the search time on finding a "funny" or "insightful" post anywhere in this story's comments?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The re-tweet and star features are there to help good posts get noticed, and to help with spam filtering. A bunch of bots that always re-tweet each other are easy to spot, and a bunch of people checking an amplifying messages lets the good ones come to the fore.

          It works reasonably well. Certainly no worse than any other system, apart from perhaps Slashdot on a good day.

          • It works reasonably well.

            It works reasonably well... for what? I have never in my life seen anything interesting on Twitter. It's mostly people expressing their outrage at various things, and occasionally coming up with a pithy remark; unfortunately, the pithy remarks are rooted in people's prejudices, biases, and bigotry.

            Twitter is an intellectual wasteland.

    • Twitter is a cesspool of corporate and political propaganda, self-righteous indignation, and minor celebrities trying to make a name for themselves. Why does anybody listen to the crap these people post?

      Most people don't. If you're in that echo chamber it might seem like everyone is doing it, but Twitter only has 300 million active users/month. The developed world number at least a billion people, so at least 70% of them also think it's stupid.

      • Don't forget to discount how many of those 300m users are automated bots specifically for the purpose of "following for profit", or the bullshit mentioned in this story.

        I find it hard to believe that even 150m people find enough value in Twitter's service to continue using it month after month.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday October 30, 2016 @05:00PM (#53180533)

    Very few people use Twitter.

  • This is just one more reason I don't have any social media accounts and never will. There is far to much manipulation of the results by third parties and shills. I do my best to keep as much of my information private, a near impossible thing I know. The less one confirms information request, turns off and deletes cookies, and caries out guest transactions the better in this day of data mining as a service and money maker.
    • This is just one more reason I don't have any social media accounts and never will.

      You and me both.

      I got stuff to do, I can't be wanking off all day on twitter and instacrap and pinterest and linkedin and facebook. None of those site hold the slightest interest for me, zip, zero, nada.

    • But you have a Slashdot account. Wouldn't that be considered a social media account?
  • Clinton's got a lot more money than Trump. She ought to be able to match him here. Conscious Decision maybe? I just don't know why.
    • Clinton's got a lot more money than Trump. She ought to be able to match him here. Conscious Decision maybe? I just don't know why.

      I looked at the article and they never explain how they determine whether a twitter account is a bot. An awful lot of Trump supporters on twitter are anonymous because the left loves to dox people with the wrong opinions and harass them or try to get them fired, etc. Are these really bots, or just anonymous twitter users?

      If they're bots, are they paid for by the campaigns? Where's the FEC filings for the Trump bot payments? We know Clinton's spending millions with Correct the Record for her fake online supp

  • ..and robotic ones at that. I truly fear for this country's future.
  • How can anyone with half a brain take seriously a communication system that limits people to 140 character posts? Does 141 characters overload primitive logic circuits?
  • There is nothing really new here : What is the difference between bots and humans paid for astroturfing or trolling?

    Bots have an advantage here: their volume will quickly make everyone realize social media are rigged and irrelevant.

  • Or maybe I am a real red-blooded American!!! Vote @realDonaldTrump for real change and less Hillary.

  • Simply stating "We know for a fact that Russia...(or whoever)" doesn't make it a fact.
    I call bullshit - that's it.

    • Also, if they know this for a fact, why don't they take it up w/ Moscow at a diplomatic level? Call the Russian ambassador to DC to the State Department and hand him a strongly worded protest. Let the Kremlin know that they take it seriously. Right now, Putin is probably laughing at the Dems all using his name and country to try and derail Trump's attacks

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