BREAKING NEWS : Full Story

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 1:21 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 1:21 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 88°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 83°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 83°
Decatur
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Van Wert
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events