Following the receiving of information from the Democratic Party that several Twitter accounts were posting misleading tweets that were discouraging people from voting in the upcoming mid-term elections, Twitter deleted more than 10,000 accounts. Though this number is considerably small compared to the millions of accounts that were deleted by the company during the 2016 presidential election, the ability to flag potential bot accounts that are set up to automatically engage in the spreading of unverified or even negatively-intentioned messages was a victory for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that made use of a system that it developed itself to identify and report malicious tweets.
The Democratic National Congress (DNC) works with many organizations that help the party identify and deal with misinformation. While the DCCC made use of publicly available tools that were developed by computer researchers at the University of Indiana called “Hoaxley” and “Botometer”, the DNC RoBhat Labs to assist its initiatives in fighting misinformation. All of these kinds of software work in a similar manner, identifying which accounts are bot-operated and then analyzing the potential damage that can be caused by a tweet from them by studying the reach of the tweet.
Speaking about this technology, co-Founder of RoBhat Labs, Ash Bhat said, “We provide the DNC with reports about what we’re seeing in terms of bot activity and where it’s being amplified. We can’t tell you who’s behind these different operations, Twitter hides that from us, but with the technology you known when and how it’s happening.”