DemLabs blog

Image adapted from Handmaid's Tale & Terminator

Protests rage as the Supreme Court reviews  a case that could could 'render protections by Roe v Wade meaningless'.

How are bots attacking Roe v Wade? How do they spread disinformation and create false outrage? Who are the bots targeting? How do you spot bot behavior and fight back?

We used Nexalogy software to analyze recent Twitter traffic for the hashtag #infanticide that's popular with bots to see bots disguise themselves and manipulate public opinion.


Bots behaving badly
Bots pretend to be real people and follow others. They have followers too, but often their followers are just other bots. Tips to spot a bot:

- Bots will often have names with a big number, indicating that they have been mass produced.
- Bots are prolific tweeters. The account below tweets about 280 times a day!
- Bot profile photos are stock photos of random individuals and rarely personal photos. Check profile photos by doing a reverse image lookup using Google Image or TinEye.
- Bots will often have the same number of followers as accounts they follow, because their master has created them and set them up to automatically like each other. This is unlike real people who will typically either follow a lot of people or have a lot of followers.
- Use Botometer, a free app from Indiana University to unmask bots.

Sudden spikes in tweets indicating coordinated activity.

Tweets from overseas on Roe v Wade seem unusual.


Free resources to fight disinformation:
Media Manipulation Initiative
Information Activism How To Guide
How to Fight Back Against Disinformation
Fighting Fake
The Ultimate Guide To Bust Fake Tweeters

Take Away
Don't let bots hijack the conversation and drown out other voices. Use software how to spot them and fight back.  Contact us for help in analyzing malicious bot activity against the public good.

Co-Founder, DemLabs

Please share this bulletin. DemLabs is a SF-based, progressive hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation with free and affordable apps. Donate here to support our work.

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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.