New York: Researchers in the US have voiced concern over the spread of disinformation leading up to the elections to the on social media platforms. The wrong information is about US President Donald Trump, his Democratic rival Joe Biden and their poll campaigns. Such malicious spread of information is threatening the integrity of the November 3 presidential elections.
Researchers at the University of Southern California released a study this week. It said that thousands of automated accounts, or ‘bots’, on Twitter and conspiracy theorists are sowing disinformation around the upcoming elections.
“The state of social media manipulation during the 2020 election is no better than it was in 2016. We are very concerned by the proliferation of bots used to spread political conspiracies and the widespread appeal that those conspiracy narratives seem to have on the platform,” the study’s lead author Emilio Ferrara, associate professor of computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, said.
“The combination of automated disinformation and distortion on social media continue to threaten the integrity of US elections,” Ferrara added.
An article in USC News said that the study looked at more than 240 million election-related tweets. It found that thousands of automated accounts had posted tweets about Trump, Biden and their campaigns.
“We discovered that bots also exacerbate the consumption of content produced by users with their same political views, worsening the issue of political echo chambers,” the researchers said.
They looked at over election-related tweets recorded between June 20 and September 9 to chart the landscape of social media manipulation. “I think the most important finding here is that bots exacerbate the consumption of content within the same political chamber, so it increases the effect of echo chambers or the salience of those tweets,” Ferrara stated.