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Twitter bots ‘more politically influential than people’

Robot accounts on Twitter were more than twice as influential as people during the first United States presidential debate in 2016, according to a study by computer scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra.

The study found that there were far fewer “Twitter bots” than previously estimated but that they had a disproportionate level of influence.

The ANU team was led by computer systems engineer Marian-Andrei Rizoiu and sociologist Timothy Graham. The researchers analysed more than 6 million tweets generated over 90 minutes before, during and after the first televised debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on 16 September 2016. 

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