"Hacking the Bundestags-Elections? Computational Propaganda on social media in Germany“
The strategic manipulation of information online to exercise political power has emerged as a critical concern for the formation of public opinion in the 21st century – and as one of the most heatedly debated issues on the political and public agenda in Germany. Online echo chambers, fake news and coordinated misinformation campaigns, political social bots that amplify, distort or initiate conversation online and algorithmically afforded micro-targeting of individuals with political messages, are all instruments of a novel form of propaganda: Computational propaganda is the assemblage of social media, autonomous agents and algorithms tasked with the manipulation of opinion. Understanding how these technologies are used to spread political messages and misinformation, engage with citizens and influence political outcomes is a pressing problem for democratic processes.
We have worked with computer scientists to analyse how state and non-state political actors are using algorithms equipped with big data Ito advance ideological viewpoints and sway public opinion over social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In Germany our research has found strategic social bot activity and an abundance of junk news during pivotal moments of public life. This talk will discuss empirical findings on the actors and strategies of social bots and junk news in Germany, address possible countermeasures and discuss their potential to „hack“ the German Bundestagselections in September 2017.
Selected as Fulbright Scholar Lisa-Maria studied Digital Communication & Tech at Georgetown University, National University of Singapore and Ludwig-Maximilians-University. She is interested in (conversational) bots, AI and digital publishing.
Lisa-Maria Nicola Neudert forscht am Oxford Internet Institut im Projekt Politische Bots über Algorithmen, Computer-unterstützte Propaganda und digitale Politik.