Sweden: Twitter bots have doubled ahead of elections

Twitter bots supporting the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have almost doubled in the past month ahead of...

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 12:21 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 12:21 PM

Twitter bots supporting the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have almost doubled in the past month ahead of the Swedish election, according to a government agency.

A study of 571,719 tweets sent during March to August showed the number of accounts with automated behavior "increased significantly" in recent weeks, the Swedish defense research agency said.

Companies

Continents and regions

Elections and campaigns

Europe

Government and public administration

Northern Europe

Political organizations

Politics

Sweden

Twitter

US Democratic Party

US political parties

The bots were 40% more likely to express support for the Sweden Democrats than genuine accounts, according to the agency. The ruling Social Democrats received the most criticism from the bots, but also came under fire from genuine accounts.

In a trend that echoes other recent elections around the world, both the Sweden Democrats and another far-right party, the Alternative for Sweden, received more support both from genuine and automated accounts than the other parties.

"The general picture that we paint is that these bots were spreading quite a lot of misinformation around the election," Ralph Schroeder, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of the study, told CNN. "Much of the conversation is about supporting certain parties, criticism of immigration and refugees, critique of the elites and of the media."

The Sweden Democrats party, with a far-right and anti-immigration agenda, has strong levels of support ahead of the September 9 vote, polls suggest, while the center-left Social Democrats party, which has dominated Sweden for decades, is polling below its historical levels.

During the period analyzed in the study, between 6% and 17% of the total content came from bots, the agency said. The variation is caused by Twitter closing down some of the automated accounts for spreading misinformation, according to the agency.

"Hopefully, this study contributes to a greater awareness of the possible effects of bots, so that more citizens make their decisions without being affected by them," said Johan Fernquist, a data-science researcher at the Swedish defense research agency and project leader for the study.

The study analyzed all the tweets from more than 46,000 accounts with hashtags linked to Swedish politics and elections, such as #svpol and # Val2018.

The agency did not say who might be behind the bots. "We can only say there are some actors behind them who are hiding their identity while engaging in high-degree political conversation," Schroeder said.

"Sweden still has a high regard for public service but this kind of misinformation paints a worrying picture for democracy," he added.

CNN has reached out to Twitter for comment and will update the article accordingly.

Huntsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 67°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
Scottsboro
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 67°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 529446

Reported Deaths: 10930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763031516
Mobile40850804
Madison34622501
Tuscaloosa25701451
Montgomery24289585
Shelby23367247
Baldwin21035307
Lee15822169
Calhoun14469313
Morgan14266279
Etowah13806352
Marshall12185222
Houston10533280
Elmore10029205
Limestone9948150
Cullman9640193
St. Clair9589239
Lauderdale9407239
DeKalb8814185
Talladega8199175
Walker7214277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6801111
Blount6635136
Colbert6288134
Coffee5498117
Dale4820111
Russell438438
Chilton4258111
Franklin424782
Covington4111117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia393076
Chambers3555123
Dallas3543151
Clarke350661
Marion3105100
Pike310177
Lawrence299798
Winston273672
Bibb260463
Marengo249064
Geneva247676
Pickens233659
Barbour230756
Hale222276
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184145
Randolph179241
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158850
Clay155156
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148341
Lamar141534
Lowndes138553
Wilcox126729
Bullock122941
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa106928
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 850885

Reported Deaths: 12228
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby953751618
Davidson89250932
Knox50562634
Hamilton44186492
Rutherford42989434
Williamson27959217
Sumner23951348
Montgomery20166225
Wilson18764233
Out of TN1836297
Unassigned16967134
Sullivan16720294
Blount15468193
Bradley14995149
Washington14554245
Maury13471171
Sevier13360175
Putnam11357174
Madison11151241
Robertson9745131
Anderson8751172
Hamblen8596173
Greene7844155
Tipton7328100
Coffee6894121
Dickson6831110
Cumberland6711129
Carter6603156
Gibson6520145
Bedford6503128
McMinn649998
Roane6272105
Jefferson6186124
Loudon611469
Hawkins6011107
Lawrence590886
Monroe582395
Warren554481
Dyer5417106
Franklin514090
Fayette504075
Cheatham454655
Obion453696
Cocke449199
Lincoln434663
Rhea434175
Marshall418258
Campbell415263
Weakley410864
Giles3995100
Henderson378476
White362669
Macon361778
Carroll361583
Hardin356867
Hardeman351364
Claiborne317873
Lauderdale317744
Henry317676
Marion312547
Scott311745
Overton300661
Wayne295834
Hickman283546
McNairy281154
DeKalb279454
Smith277339
Haywood270662
Grainger262150
Trousdale249922
Morgan249339
Fentress241047
Johnson239139
Chester214051
Bledsoe213211
Polk206624
Crockett203248
Unicoi202549
Cannon191831
Union190634
Grundy179034
Humphreys178926
Lake170226
Sequatchie169529
Benton165740
Decatur158539
Lewis158126
Meigs138825
Stewart132328
Jackson131935
Clay110131
Houston109333
Perry106328
Moore101017
Van Buren84623
Pickett75924
Hancock58812

Community Events