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Study Finds Quarter of Climate Change Tweets From Bots

By BBC News

February 24, 2020

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A study by Brown University researchers found 25% of 6.5-million Twitter posts about climate change were likely produced by bots, giving the impression of widespread climate change denial.

The tweets were posted during the period surrounding President Trump's June 2017 announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, with most denying global warming or repudiating climate science.

The researchers used an Indiana University tool called Botometer to gauge the likelihood of tweets' posting by bots or humans; posts about "fake science" were identified as coming from bots 38% of the time, as were 28% of tweets about oil company Exxon.

Only 5% of tweets supporting action against climate change came from bots.

The University of Southern California's Emilio Ferrara said, "If someone is manipulating the messages that we consume online, then there is a reason to be concerned that they are changing people's perceptions or beliefs."

From BBC News
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