Researchers Say They’ve Uncovered a Massive Facebook Bot Farm From the 2020 Election

The 14,000-account “political manipulation” network sent posts on Trump, Biden, and COVID.

The 14,000-account “political manipulation” network sent posts on Trump, Biden, and COVID.

A group of security researchers say they’ve unmasked a massive bot farm that aimed to shape public opinion on Facebook during the heat of the 2020 presidential election.

According to Paul Bischoff of Comparitech, a British cybersecurity company, the network includes 13,775 unique Facebook accounts that each posted roughly 15 times per month, for an output of more than 50,000 posts a week. The accounts appear to have been used for “political manipulation,” Bischoff says, with roughly half the posts being related to political topics and another 17 percent related to COVID-19. Each account has a profile photo and friends list—likely consisting of other bots, the researchers suggest—and they’ve joined “specific Facebook groups where their posts are more likely to be seen and discussed by legitimate users.”

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