US Presidential polls 2016: Robot-generated fake tweets influencing outcome?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Flipboard
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
Robotic tweets
Robotic tweets

Los angeles : A study has warned of shocking consequences of the political discussion on Twitter that was created by software robots or social bots.

According to experts, such discussions may have influenced public opinion and threatened the integrity of the upcoming US presidential elections.

The study was made by the researchers from the University of Southern California's (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering in the US.

Experts have been concerned that the robot-generated tweets may have distorted political online discussions and may impact election outcomes. 

Emilio Ferrara, research leader at the USC mentioned, “Software robots masquerading as humans are influencing the political discourse on social media as never before and could threaten the very integrity of the 2016 US presidential election.”

With the help of state-of-the art bot detection algorithms, Ferrara and research assistant Alessandro Bessi analysed around 20 million election-related tweets created between September 16 and October 21 and came to the conclusion that robots, rather than people, produced 3.8 million tweets, or 19 per cent. 

The research also concluded that robots accounted for 400,000 of the 2.8 million individual users, or nearly 15 per cent of the population.

It was also concluded that Republican candidate Donald Trump's robot-produced tweets were almost uniformly positive, boosting the candidate's popularity. 

However, only half of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's robot’s tweets were positive thus affecting her popularity.