Earlier this week, we at Fair Vote UK launched ‘Eyes on Election’, an Election Vulnerabilities Monitoring Project. This project, that will run the course of the General Election to 12th December, will keep the public informed about what misbehaviour there might be. It will play a vital public role in calling out threats to the election as they emerge – from blatant lies to more insidious disinformation, dodgy money and foreign interference. Disinformation and meddling can come from any side of the political aisle and so this will be non-partisan. It will call out attempts by parties and activists from all political groups of all persuasions.
There is already evidence of disinformation and there will be much more up until polling day because politicians have done nothing to protect elections in the digital age. This issue is urgent. By the end of the year, two elections will have been fought since our electoral system was demonstrated to be vulnerable in the 2016 EU Referendum. Lack of lasting structural change to the electoral system and the legislation that governs it will mean our elections remain vulnerable. Projects like Eyes on Election should not need to exist. There should be laws in place that protect our elections from threats on social media. Fair Vote UK will continue to fight for election safeguarding and expose the evidence for its urgency. It will build the evidence base necessary to force legislators to act on day 1 of the new Parliament – whoever is in power.
If you see something nefarious or suspect say something by sharing it on Twitter with #EyesOnElection.
We’ll also be posting some advice on how to identify such malfeasance on the web. Here’s a few pointers on how to recognise social media “bots”:
How to Identify a Bot
- They post a lot. the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda team views an average of more than 50 posts a day as suspicious.
- Their profile is “sparse”. There’s often no header photo and the profile pic looks generic. The less personal information on the profile, the more likely it is to be a bot.
- Their ratio of followers to following is off balance. If they’re following 500+ people but only have 3 followers, be suspicious.