How are automated social media bots manipulating our political discourse? In episode 91, Emilio Ferrara from the University of Southern California discusses his research into bots’ amplification of conspiracies theories across more than 240 million tweets regarding the 2020 U.S. presidential election. His open-access article “Characterizing social media manipulation in the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” was published in  with Herbert Chang, Emily Chen, Goran Muric, and Jaimin Patel in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s journal First Monday.



Websites and other resources

      • Emilio’s website and Twitter
      • MIT Technology Review article on Emilio’s Botometer
      • Figure 12: Proportion of users using QAnon hashtags and mean botscore for each news outlet, dot size indicates relative number of tweets.

    • Indiana University’s Hoaxy, a tool to visualize claims and fact-checking
    • Detecting social bots (2016):


Select media and press



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Hosts / Producers

Doug Leigh & Ryan Watkins

How to Cite

Leigh, D., Watkins, R., & Ferrara, E.. (2021). Parsing Science – Bots’ Meddling in the 2020 Presidential Election. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.13569017


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