Tag Archives: protest

A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit: A Call for Bots of Conviction

Rather than ambivalence and anguish being the key markers of canon-worthy bots, it’s absurdism, comical juxtaposition, and an exhaustive sensibility (the idea that while a human cannot tweet every word or every unicode character, a machine can). Bots that don’t share these traits—say, a bot that lists toxic chemicals in drinking water or tweets civilian deaths from drone attacks—are likely to be left out of the bot canon.

I don’t care much about the bot canon, but I do believe we should create and pay attention to bots that don’t fit the canon. And protest bots should be among these bots. We need bots that are not (or not merely) funny, random, or comprehensive. We need bots that are the algorithmic equivalent of the Wobblies’ Little Red Songbook, bots that fan the flames of discontent. We need bots of conviction. (Mark Sample, Medium)

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Twitter bots grow up and take on the world

The users of other bots take self-expression one step further. Mark Sample, a digital studies professor at Davidson College in North Carolina, sent out a public call last year for people to use bots more as instruments of protest. Sample himself has built multiple bots to satirise groups he disapproves of. One, @NSA_PRISMbot, imagines the kind of arbitrary data that the National Security Agency is collecting on Americans: “Judd Kutch of Port Vernon, California shared a photo named PROTESTANTISM on Instagram”. Another named @NRA_Tally combines reports of fake mass shootings with pro-gun arguments commonly made by the National Rifle Association. (Aviva Rutkin, New Scientist)

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