Profiling Bolsobot Networks

How to capture the operation of political bots networks? Which types of accounts compose bot ecologies? How do bots promote content? To what extent do platform moderation policies impact bots’ activities over time? How does inauthentic activity change as content moderation measures refine their capture of bots and other “platform manipulations”? This project gathers and profiles accounts operating in Brazilian online political debates through the use of quali-quantitative methods. It investigates the activities of pro- and anti- president Jair Bolsonaro bots across platforms (i.e. Instagram, Twitter and TikTok) to make “inauthentic” behaviour visible, as well as addressing challenges of studying networked disinformation environments.

The project explores methodological approaches for studying inauthentic behaviour online that moves beyond bot detection towards an analysis of their vernacular, collective strategies and particularities. The project aims to produce a series of research reports on “bolsobots”, their networks and digital methods recipes to understand their social lives.