Stories

Trump fans used Twitter bots to create a "giant megaphone"

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."