Phil 12.25.17

Was listening to On Being yesterday morning, where Krista Tippet was interviewing David Steindl-Rast. He made some interesting points about power hierarchies devolving into networks. But it also maid me wonder whether the terms for Trust and Awareness are being overloaded with meanings that we used to ascribe to Faith and Doubt. Need to look into that some more.

Detecting Bots on Russian Political Twitter

  • Automated and semiautomated Twitter accounts, bots, have recently gained significant public attention due to their potential interference in the political realm. In this study, we develop a methodology for detecting bots on Twitter using an ensemble of classifiers and apply it to study bot activity within political discussions in the Russian Twittersphere. We focus on the interval from February 2014 to December 2015, an especially consequential period in Russian politics. Among accounts actively Tweeting about Russian politics, we find that on the majority of days, the proportion of Tweets produced by bots exceeds 50%. We reveal bot characteristics that distinguish them from humans in this corpus, and find that the software platform used for Tweeting is among the best predictors of bots. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that one prominent activity that bots were involved in on Russian political Twitter is the spread of news stories and promotion of media who produce them.

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