Sam Woolley and Phil Howard wrote an article for TechPresident on the political effects of bots.
It’s no secret that governments and political actors now make use of social robots or bots—automated scripts that produce content and mimic real users. Faux social media accounts now spread pro-governmental messages, beef up web site follower numbers, and cause artificial trends. Bot-generated propaganda and misdirection has become a worldwide political strategy.
Robotic lobbying tactics have been deployed in several countries: Russia, Mexico, China, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Azerbaijan, Iran, Bahrain, South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. Indeed, experts estimate that bot traffic now makes up over60 percent of all traffic online—up nearly twenty percent from just two years ago.