It took 6 months to read my title.
- Jun 6, 2008
Namely what it doesn't examine is... unrelated to bot farm nature. Which I already said hacking and media outreach are potentially more interesting. The bots themselves though were demonstrated to be nearly useless. Again, it's easy to see why. In the modern internet landscape, they'll never show up and have impact anywhere except where they're speaking to the like-minded crowd. If they show up where actual undecided voters are, they'll be ignored or banned immediately.No. This is misreading the study.
The study found that a specific instance of a bot farm campaign was likely ineffective at changing views within the relatively narrow field of what the researchers examined:
"Importantly, the scope of our research is limited to the Russian foreign influence campaign on Twitter. We also restrict our analysis to social media posts and thus cannot examine relationships from any potential sharing of other media content (e.g., images and videos) more generally. This research thus does not speak to the impact of similar campaigns on other social media platforms, nor to the possibility of foreign election interference via other channels, such as hacking or phishing schemes that were allegedly designed to surface information unfavorable to political opponents at opportune moments."
Whilst I accept that the study offers hope that bot farms may be less worrying than we fear, it absolutely should not be taken as a comprehensive assessment of bot farm capabilities generally. A lot more research is necessary to establish that.
If you have a scandal (fake, staged, or real) you want to spread, the best way to spread it is to take it to a midrange media outlet or journalistic personality. Like the Biden laptop story.