Doug Strickland / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

Some Trump campaign supporters became adept at using Twitter bots to amplify their online voices, giving him a little-recognized advantage on social media. A WashPost front-pager, "Online pundits use 'bots' to turn tweets into roars," by Craig Timberg in Chicago, unpacks the phenomenon:

  • Two Twitter accounts of Daniel John Sobieski, 68, "one of the nation's most prolific conservative voices ... tweet more than 1,000 times a day using 'schedulers' that work through stacks of his own pre-written posts in repetitive loops."
  • "Researchers have documented the power of automation technology to magnify some points of view while drowning out others... [I]t's like a giant megaphone..."
  • "One research team found that 'highly automated accounts' supporting President Trump ... out-tweeted those supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton by a ratio of 5 to 1 in the final days before the vote."
  • "This Twitter advantage had spillover effects, helping pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stories to trend online, making them more likely to find their way into Facebook feeds or Google's list of popular news stories."
Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan urged to return absentee ballots to drop boxes

Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valle, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo by KEREM YUCEL via Getty

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic attorney general of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

36 mins ago - Technology

Facebook warns of "perception hacks" undermining trust in democracy

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Facebook warned Tuesday that bad actors are increasingly taking to social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems or have otherwise seriously disrupted elections.

Why it matters: "Perception hacking," as Facebook calls it, can have dire consequences on people's faith in democracy, sowing distrust, division and confusion among the voters it targets.

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.