Germany avoids AfD junk
The German far right is shouting loudest on Twitter during the general election, with close to one-third of political tweets linked to the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), according to research from Oxford University.
The study also finds that German Twitter users have a stronger aversion to junk news than their counterparts did in US in the run-up to the presidential election, and in the UK election in June. Researchers define junk content as ‘various forms of propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyperpartisan, or conspiratorial political news and information’.
And the sharing of false/misleading headlines and mass posting by bots seems to have had little influence in a quiet German campaign. “The impact of political bots was minor overall, with highly automated accounts generating a small fraction of the Twitter traffic about the election, and most of the bots working in the service of the far-right AfD,” university researchers say.
All of the major parties, including the SPD, (CDU/CSU), Bündnis90/Die Grünen and Die Linke had publicly stated that they would refrain from using social bots in elections. The right-wing AfD, initially said that it would consider the use of bots, though it later distanced itself from that stance.