Understanding Twitter Bots in Hybrid Regimes: A Methodological Roadmap
Join us for a presentation by Aybuke Atalay, a PhD student in the School of Social and Political Science as part of our 2023 Seminar Series. Aybuke will share her ongoing doctoral research on investigating bots and bot-like behaviour in the Turkish Twittersphere, with a focus on understanding how social bots are employed for propaganda and manipulation beyond key events in hybrid political contexts. She will also discuss the current state of Twitter-based computational social science research in light of recent developments, including the decision to restrict access to the platform’s API to prevent bot exploitation.
See below for more information about this talk.
The use of social bots for political propaganda has received significant attention from scholars, leading to increased research into the field of computational propaganda. However, most studies have focused on key, snapshot events like elections and referendums in democratic political contexts, with less attention paid to hybrid political contexts such as Turkey, where democratic principles are constantly challenged by authoritarian tendencies. Given the unique challenges posed by hybrid political contexts, understanding how social bots are employed for propaganda and manipulation beyond key events is crucial.
In this presentation, I will demonstrate the methodological steps involved in researching bots in such contexts and share the initial findings of my ongoing doctoral studies. Additionally, I will discuss the current state of Twitter-based computational social science research in light of recent developments, including the decision to restrict access to the platform’s Application Programming Interface (API) to prevent bot exploitation. I will address the potential implication of this for academic research and ways in which researchers can navigate this changing landscape.
Aybuke Atalay is a PhD student in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. With a background in Politics and International Relations, Aybuke’s research interests now lie in the intersection of computational social science, social media manipulation and online disinformation in hybrid political contexts. Her current doctoral research focuses on investigating bots and bot-like behaviour in the Turkish Twittersphere, supervised by Dr Kate Wright, Dr Ugur Ozdemir and Dr Jean Francois Daoust.
Aybuke is the co-organiser of the Summer Institute in Computational Social Sciences (SICSS Edinburgh) and a member/assistant in Social Data Science Hub at the University of Edinburgh. She is also currently involved in two other projects: Music Streaming as Global Cultural Diffusion, supervised by Tod Van Gunten and Analysis of the Minutes of UK Science Advisory Committees during the COVID-19 Pandemic using Topic Modelling, supervised by Nathan Coombs.
This event will take place on Wednesday 10 May at noon. See you there!
This event will take place in person at the University of Edinburgh, in CMB, room 3,15
Cover photos credit: Headshot provided by Aybuke