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Mark Buchanan

Beware of Robots Telling You How to Vote

Social networks need to help people identify computational propaganda.
They're not always so easy to recognize.

They're not always so easy to recognize.

Photographer: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Voting is partially a social endeavor, in which people consider the opinions of others when making up their own minds. Increasingly, though, they're being influenced by an inhuman force: software robots specifically designed to deceive them.

Lest democracy be undermined, humans need help in distinguishing their brethren from the bots.