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The number of bots is growing explosively ahead of Sweden’s September election

The number of bots is growing explosively ahead of Sweden’s September election

  • Fake accounts tweeting about Swedish politics have doubled in number ahead of the country’s general election.
  • A much larger than proportionate share is expressing support for the right-wing populist party Sweden Democrats.
  • This according to a new study by the Swedish Defence Research Agency FOI.

By – Business Insider Nordic

The Swedish Defence Research Agency FOI issues a warning with less than two weeks until the general election. The number of fake Twitter accounts discussing Swedish politics is soaring – and about 40% of them is tweeting support for the Sweden Democrats.

FOI has used machine learning to identify fake Twitter accounts in the political debate ahead of September’s election.

The number of fake accounts discussing Swedish politics have doubled since July. FOI

“They’ve increased from 600 in July to 1 200 in August,” says Johan Fernquist, data scientist at FOI who’ve lead the research, to Aftonbladet.

FOI has no theory on who could be behind the bot army or why they interfere with the election. But their position on the political spectrum is clearer.

47 percent of the bots are pro-Sweden Democrats, the study finds. FOI

The study finds that it’s 40 percent more likely that a bot express support for the right-wing party Sweden Democrats compared to genuine Twitter accounts.

Normalizing certain political views could be the underlying reason for this phenomenon, writes FOI. The bots often share articles from right media outlets, such as Samhällsnytt and Fria Tider.

It’s three times more likely that an automated tweet have an anti-Islam message. Criticizing immigration is 50 percent more common, while attacking mainstream media is 14 percent likelier.

“I hope that this study will lead to a greater awareness on the possible effects of bots, so more people make their decision without being influenced,” says Johan Fernquist.

Download and read the study
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Read more: From  2018/08/21

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