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Malicious Twitter bots could have profound consequences for the election

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Robot hands typing on a futuristic keyboard (Shutterstock.com)

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Twitter has been invaded by an army of software robots – most commonly referred to as “bots.” Two new studies delve into this topic and how bots’ bad behavior could ultimately sway public opinion and political discourse. Some bots have an important purpose, say for disseminating news and ideas to certain groups…

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2020 Election

Here’s the real reason Trump is being so open about his plot to steal the election

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It's been pretty clear for months that Trump knows he's losing, and his plan to cling to power rests on getting more Democrats to vote absentee than Republicans, claiming that those mail ballots are inherently fraudulent and then waging a scorched earth campaign to prevent them from being counted or, perhaps, to persuade states with Republican legislatures to send Trump electors to DC even if Biden wins them. Chaos and uncertainty are necessary ingredients.

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2020 Election

DOJ’s rush to publicize discarded ballots story is evidence of pro-Trump election interference: report

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Past and present employees at the Justice Department are questioning the motives of higher-ups who prematurely announced an investigation into discarded ballots in Pennsylvania, only to have to quickly walk back their story as more details become available.

According to a report from the Guardian, federal prosecutors jumped all over a story out of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, that an employee “incorrectly discarded” a handful of ballots in mid-September that led to a meeting between Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr. With the DOJ publically announcing the ballots were for Trump, that allowed to the president to turn it into a campaign issue even though the story fell apart within hours.

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‘Apocalyptic memes’ have pushed Trump supporters to embrace an age-old Messianic conspiracy theory: report

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On Saturday, writing for The New Yorker, Matt Alt explored the ways that the QAnon conspiracy theory — which holds that Trump is trying to bring down a world-spanning Satanic sex trafficking operation by Democrats and the Deep State — is essentially a new version of an age-old paranoid belief system, repackaged for the age of the internet.

"QAnon is a conspiracy theory, but it is many other things as well, by turns an online troll campaign, a Messianic world view, a form of interactive role-playing, and a way to sell T-shirts," wrote Alt. "QAnon sounds like the plot of a Z-grade horror movie, but it is a product of the Internet and, more specifically, of social-media networks."

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