In DepthTechnology

Bot-hunters eye mischief in German election

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Science  15 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6356, pp. 1081-1082
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6356.1081

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With Germans going to the polls on 24 September to elect their new parliament, experts are watching closely for signs of automated propaganda on social networks. So far, bots—fake social media profiles that appear to be human users but are really driven by algorithms—seem less active than they did in the recent presidential elections in France and the United States, where some commentators believe Russia was seeking to boost right-wing candidates. But researchers sensitized by past elections are making the German contest a laboratory for studies of how to recognize bots and trace their effects. Teams are trawling tens of millions of tweets related to the German elections for signs that bots are exerting influence.