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Denis Stukal | Analyzing Twitter Bots: How Russia Manipulates Information Online

April 29, 2019 @ 2:00 pm

ABSTRACT: Abundant anecdotal evidence suggests that authoritarian regimes have recently become increasingly active in their use of social media for disinformation and propaganda via bots and trolls. In this talk, we will present two scalable, reproducible, and retrospective tools for identifying Russian Twitter bots and measuring their political leanings with an application to the Russian political Twitter in 2015-2017. We find that the Russian political twittersphere was swamped with bots during that time, but – contrary to the dominant mass media narrative – pro-regime bots were not the only group of bots. We further analyze the political logic behind the use of pro-regime bots in Russian domestic politics and show how pro-government bots have been employed to suppress mass protests.BIO: Stukal is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) Laboratory at New York University. He holds a Ph.D. in politics from NYU (2018). His research focuses on analyzing large corpora of texts and collections of other social media data to study misinformation and computational propaganda with special attention to Russia. His research has been published in journals such as Big Data, the Journal of Politics, and Comparative Politics.


April 29, 2019
2:00 pm