Twitter bots tried to influence Billag vote
Switzerland is not immune to social media manipulation ahead of crucial votes. Research by the Northwestern University in Basel shows there were sometimes a 1,000 tweets a day generated by bots to influence the ‘No-Billag’ campaign.
The university says some tweets were answered by bots in less than a tenth of a second –faster than anyone could type.
The university examined 200,000 messages and 26,000 accounts in the eight weeks before the vote.
A communications professor at the University, Stefan Gürtler, says he worries people will stop debating political issues if they get the impression they are in a minority because of the onslaught of automatic messages against them.
But at the moment voters are using various information sources and so are not so easily influenced. In the end, the bid to end the Billag fee which funds the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation was rejected by over 71%.