HOPE 2020 (2020): "People Are Not Bots - or How Researchers Delegitimize Social Movements" (Download)
Sunday, July 26, 2020: 2000. At first, it didn't sound wrong. Scientists were going to track down social bots using scientific methods in order to study their influence on public debates. But a deeper look into the research shows that it is anything but scientific.
Researchers work with wrong claims and flawed methods. Algorithms, instead of being open source, are intransparent. Results contradict each other. Papers have been rejected by scientific journals. To this day, nobody has been able to present any scientific proof of "mass manipulation by social bots."
Yet this narrative is strong enough to delegitimize major political movements like Fridays for Future or Black Lives Matter. When scientists claim that a movement consists of bots, its voices are less likely to be heard.
It is time to set the record straight: People are not bots!