Bots, Fake News and The Anti-Muslim Message on Social Media

• In this report, we show how recent terror attacks in the UK have been successfully exploited by anti-Muslim activists over social media, to increase their reach and grow their audiences.
• Monitoring key anti-Muslim social media accounts and their networks, we show how even small events are amplified through an international network of activists.
• We also provide concrete evidence of a leading anti-Muslim activist whose message is hugely amplified by the use of a 100+ strong ‘bot army’.
• The global reach, low price and lack of regulation on social media platforms presents new possibilities for independent, single issue and extremist viewpoints to gain significant audiences.
• We delve into the murky and secretive world of the dark web to explore just what tools are available for manipulating social media and show how easy it is to make use of these tactics even for non-tech savvy users.
• Through testing, we conclude that even cheaply inflating one’s number of followers has an effect on the ability to reach a larger audience.
• We situate these developments in the context of increasing hostility towards Muslims and immigration in the Europe and the US.
• “Trigger events” such as terror attacks, and other events that reflect badly on Muslims and Islam, cause both an increase in anti-Muslim hate on the street and, as we will show, also online.

Tags: bots, fake news, Islamophobia, Social Media, Social Networks