For Whom the Bot Tolls: How Pro-Government Bots Fight Domestic Opposition in Russia

May 20, 2020, 5:30-7:00pm

Join NYU's Jordan Center for an online talk with Denis Stukal of the University of Sydney on Russian-language Twitter bots in the context of Russian domestic politics.

Abundant anecdotal evidence suggests that Russia has employed new digital technologies known as social media bots to facilitate its policies abroad. However, relatively little is known about the use of these technologies in Russian domestic politics. In this talk, Denis Stukal, assistant professor of data analytics in social sciences at the University of Sydney, Australia will discuss Russian-language Twitter bots in the context of Russian domestic politics. The talk will start with a general discussion of what Russian bots look like, how to identify them, what they do on Twitter and why not every Russian bot is a Kremlin bot. After that, the talk will focus on pro-government bots and the political strategies behind their use in response to offline and online opposition activities. What triggers bots more: street protests or viral tweets from opposition leaders? Who is their target? And finally, should opposition be afraid of bots?


Denis Stukal, lecturer (assistant professor) in data analytics in social sciences, department of government and international relations, University of Sydney (Australia)