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NATO Report Shows Clear Evidence of Robotrolling on Social Media

01 September 2017
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The NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence is proud to launch its first quarterly product. In this issue of ‘Robotrolling’ we show clear evidence of extensive and harmful automated activity on social media. Two in three Twitter accounts posting in Russian about the NATO presence in the Baltics and Poland are bots. They sent 84% of all Russian-language messages.

The English language space is also heavily affected: one in four accounts were likely automated and were responsible for 46% of all English-language content. Of the four states considered, Estonia and Latvia were most targeted by robotic activity.

The implications for democracies are stark. The positive possibilities of social media are diminished —at least in the case of Twitter in Russia. The findings presented have practical implications for any policy maker, journalist, or analyst who measures activity on Twitter. Failure to account for bot activity will—at best—result in junk statistics.

Report is available here.