FAQ

What is BEV?

BEV stands for Bot Electioneering Volume. The website visualizes the activity of likely bots on Twitter around the 2018 US midterm elections. It allows to explore how active bots are on a daily basis in efforts to influence online discourse about the elections. It also shows what topics are being targeted by likely bots.

Why BEV stops to update?

BEV is a nonprofit academic research project. Since the 2018 U.S. midterm elections are over, and we have run out of fund to cover the computational resources, we have to stop collecting new data. BEV will be activated again for future elections. In the mean time you can explore the archived data from Oct 17 to Dec 21 for 2018 U.S. midterm elections. You can also play with other tools from the OSoMe project.

How is the data collected?

Using the Twitter API, the system combs through public tweets that match a list of hashtags commonly used across the political spectrum to label content related to the 2018 US midterm elections. They include #1u, #2018midterms, #activemeasures, #AKsen, #ALsen, #america, #americafirst, #ARsen, #AZsen, #bluetsunami, #bluetsunami2018, #bluewave, #bluewave2018, #bluewavecoming2018, #bluewaveiscoming, #buildthewall, #CAsen, #ccot, #COsen, #CTsen, #democrat, #democratic, #democrats, #DEsen, #dnc, #draintheswamp, #dumptrump, #election2018, #election2020, #elections, #electionseason, #extrememagashoutout, #fakepolls, #fakepresident, #fbr, #fbresistance, #fbrparty, #flipitblue, #FLsen, #GAsen, #geeksresist, #gotv, #govote, #greatawakening, #HIsen, #IAsen, #IDsen, #ILsen, #impeach45, #impeachtrump, #INsen, #insidepolitics, #kag, #kag2018, #kag2020, #kavanaugh, #KSsen, #KYsen, #LAsen, #maga, #MAsen, #MDsen, #MEsen, #midterm, #midterm18, #midterm2018, #midterms, #midterms2018, #MIsen, #MNsen, #MOsen, #MSsen, #MTsen, #NCsen, #NDsen, #NEsen, #NHsen, #NJsen, #NMsen, #notmypresident, #nra, #NVsen, #ny24, #NYsen, #OHsen, #OKsen, #orangecounty, #ORsen, #paresists, #PAsen, #plaidshirtguy, #politics, #potus, #propaganda, #redwave, #redwaverising, #resist, #resistance, #RIsen, #SCsen, #SDsen, #senate, #strongertogether, #takeitback, #taxcuts, #tcot, #thanksgop, #thanksobama, #thegreatawakening, #theresistance, #TNsen, #tradewar, #trump, #trump2020, #trumprussia, #trumptrain, #TXsen, #UTsen, #VAsen, #vote, #voteblue, #voteblue2018, #voteblueforamerica, #votebluetosaveamerica, #votered, #votered2018, #voteredtosaveamerica, #voterfraud, #voters, #votethemout, #votewhileyoustillcan, #VTsen, #walkaway, #walkawaycampaign, #walkawayfromdemocrats, #walkawayfromdemocrats2018, #WAsen, #wethepeople, #WIsen, #wrwy, #WVsen, #wwg1wga, #WYsen, and others.

How is content from likely bots identified?

We use Botometer to extract bot scores of Twitter accounts posting content about the elections. Botometer is a machine learning algorithms that considers more than a thousand features about an account and its activity to estimate the likelihood that the account is automated. We consider accounts with bot score above a high threshold to identify content generated by likely social bots.

How is the BEV calculated?

The BEV is a number that quantifies electoral activity by likely bots. It compares the bot scores associated with public election-related tweets with those from a random sample of public posts. Higher values of the volume suggest that electioneering bots are more active; in other words, bots are being used to target the elections. A value of zero indicates that electioneering bots are as active as bots in other domains, so bots are not being used to target the elections in particular.

What do the tag cloud and links show?

The system extracts entities (hashtags, usernames, and links) from public tweets generated by likely bots. The tag cloud and lists show the entities that are most tweeted by likely bots. By clicking on the links, you can use the Hoaxy tool to visualize how those entities are spreading on Twitter in the last few minutes/hours/days, and how social bots are affecting the spread.

Why do I have to log in using my Twitter account?

To visualize the spread of entities (hashtags, usernames, links) on Twitter, our Hoaxy tool needs to retrieve search results from the Twitter API on your behalf. We do not store (or even access) your Twitter account information, nor do we use any permissions or data to do anything beyond what is necessary to provide the Hoaxy visualization.

Who is behind BEV?

BEV is a project by OSoMe students, who also contribute to other tools from Indiana University's Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe). These tools include Botometer and Hoaxy, and you can learn more about them and OSoMe by clicking on the links in the menu. OSoMe is a joint project of the IU Network Science Institute (IUNI) and the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS) in the IU School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineeting. You can find contact information on the OSoMe website.