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Listener Picks: What dangers do social media bots pose to democracy?

The logos of social media applications Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, Hyperlapse and Telegram are displayed on a cellphone screen.
The logos of social media applications Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, Hyperlapse and Telegram are displayed on a cellphone screen.

2024 is the biggest global election year in history. More than 60 countries, representing half the world’s population, will head to the polls.

And the people vying to be elected will use all manner of tactics to get a leg up on their competitors – including social media bots.

Across social media sites, it’s estimated that there are billions of bots – which are partially or fully automated social profiles intended to be passed off as humans. These automated accounts are often used to drum up perceived support for political candidates, giving us a false sense of how popular they really are.

Social media companies, like Twitter, TikTok, and Meta have come under fire in recent years for not doing enough tostem the spread of disinformation and propaganda on their platforms from such bad actors.

Our panel of experts explains how bots warp reality and what we know about the dangerous forces behind them.

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

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Lauren Hamilton