Bring on the Bots

17 May 2015


Sam Woolley and Tim Hwang wrote about bots for Civicist.

Over the last several years, in fact, journalists have increasingly reported on cases of politicians using bots worldwide during contested elections and security crises to pad follower lists, spam and disable activists, and send out pro-government propaganda.

That unsavory actors are using bots globally to their advantage is not in question. However, most stories on this topic fail to ask the bigger question. Namely, is it the nature of bots that makes their usage inherently problematic? Or, rather, is it the means used by the bots to achieve their ends and the intent behind them which makes them so objectionable?