Popular with the Robots: Accusation and Automation in the Argentine Presidential Elections, 2015

Popular with the Robots: Accusation and Automation in the Argentine Presidential Elections, 2015 Accusations of dishonourable campaigning have featured in every Argentine presidential election since the return to democracy in 1983. Yet, allegations made in the elections this October and November looked different from earlier ones. The campaign team for the centre-leftist candidate Daniel Scioli argued that Cambiemos, the centre-right coalition led by Mauricio Macri, was abusing the political affordances of social media by running a Twitter campaign via ‘50,000’ fake accounts. This paper presents evidence suggesting that both teams promoted their campaigns through automation on Twitter. Although the Macri campaign was subtler, both teams appear to have used automation to the same end: maximizing the diffusion of party content and creating an inflated image of their popularity. Neither team attempted to muffle or engage with opposing voices through automation. We argue that in a political culture fixated on the appearance of popularity, the use of automation to simulate mass support appears an organic development as campaigning enters the still unregulated Twittersphere. We compare our findings to the uses of automation in the Russian Twittersphere and conclude that there may be greater variation in the political usage of Twitter between political contexts than between different types of political event occurring in the same country. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png "International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society" Springer Journals

Popular with the Robots: Accusation and Automation in the Argentine Presidential Elections, 2015

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by The Author(s)
Subject
Social Sciences; Sociology, general; Clinical Psychology; Personality and Social Psychology
ISSN
0891-4486
eISSN
1573-3416
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10767-016-9233-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Accusations of dishonourable campaigning have featured in every Argentine presidential election since the return to democracy in 1983. Yet, allegations made in the elections this October and November looked different from earlier ones. The campaign team for the centre-leftist candidate Daniel Scioli argued that Cambiemos, the centre-right coalition led by Mauricio Macri, was abusing the political affordances of social media by running a Twitter campaign via ‘50,000’ fake accounts. This paper presents evidence suggesting that both teams promoted their campaigns through automation on Twitter. Although the Macri campaign was subtler, both teams appear to have used automation to the same end: maximizing the diffusion of party content and creating an inflated image of their popularity. Neither team attempted to muffle or engage with opposing voices through automation. We argue that in a political culture fixated on the appearance of popularity, the use of automation to simulate mass support appears an organic development as campaigning enters the still unregulated Twittersphere. We compare our findings to the uses of automation in the Russian Twittersphere and conclude that there may be greater variation in the political usage of Twitter between political contexts than between different types of political event occurring in the same country.

Journal

"International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society"Springer Journals

Published: Jul 28, 2016

References

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