CORRECTIV.Faktencheck (26.10.18): “Wird Facebook auch in Deutschland durchgreifen?”

In the US, Facebook deletes hundreds of pages and profiles that spread false information and fake news. Much of the “inauthentic communication is financially motivated”, a Facebook spokeswoman, at Correctiv’s request, wrote. These pseudo-news sites want to make money, not to influence political events. In Germany, Facebook does not observe any activities that can be compared with the US. A post by Anna Mayr on CORRECTIV’s Faktencheck blog with commentary by Tim Schatto-Eckrodt.
Read the whole article at

Science magazine (13.09.17): “Social media ‘bots’ tried to influence the U.S. election. Germany may be next”

On 3 September, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main opponent Martin Schulz faced off in an election debate that many viewers panned as more of a duet than a duel, a far livelier effort was underway on social media. People on Twitter started using the hashtag #verräterduell.
Yet much of the venom may not have been fueled by angry voters, researchers say. Instead it looks like the work of bots, or fake social media profiles that appear to be connected to human users, but are really driven by algorithms.
Read the whole article at

Bayrischer Rundfunk (30.08.2017): “Wahlkampf auf Twitter-Parteien und ihre fragwürdigen Follower”

All big political parties and candidates have dubious Twitters followers. Many of those seem not to be operated by real persons and the AfD followers are suspiciously active. An analysis of BR Data and BR Verifikation, with commentary by Prof Quandt
Read the full (German) article at

Zeit History Magazine (22.08.2017): “»Trump ist ein Geschenk« – Ändert das Internet unser Verhältnis zur Wahrheit?”

Doe we live in an age of lies? Why are conspiracy theories so attractive? How does the internet change our relationship with truth? A conversation with Thorsten Quandt and Wolfgang Wippermann
The full issue can be ordered online (German)

Helmholtz Perspektiven (July 2017): “Machen Maschinen Meinungen? Social Bots und ihre Rolle bei der politischen Meinungsbildung”

Social bots feature increasingly in journalists reports on elections. Could they also play a part in the upcoming Bundestag elections or is their influence overrated? An overview with, amongst other, Dr. Grimme (PropStop-Project)
Read the full issue online (German)

Frontal 21, ZDF (09.05.2017): “Fake-News und Filterblasen: Nachrichten in sozialen Netzwerken”

More and more people turn away from traditional media. Political blogs, news sites and private discussion groups claim to offer a better alternative. But politicians and even Facebook itself warn against relying on some of these sites, criticizing that they manipulate their follower numbers to appear more attractive to the recommendation algorithms of the social networks. Frontal 21 reports on false facts, manufactured popularity and the traps of timelines.
The full report on the ZDF-homepage (in German)

Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (08.05.2017): “NOZ-Diskussion: Internet als Fluch für Demokratie?”

Is democracy threatened by a wave of populism? How can extremism be fought? What role plays the Internet? These issues were tackled during a panel discussion in Osnabrück, which was hosted by the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ). Participants were Hans-Georg Maaßen, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Klaus-Peter Schöppner, opinion researcher, NOZ editor-in-chief Ralf Geisenhanslüke, and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Quandt, professor of online communication.
Read the whole article on the discussion on the website of the NOZ (German)

WDR 5 (06.02.2017): “Wissenschaftsprojekt gegen Fake News”

False information, disguised as news, is spread by social bots. An interdisciplinary team in Münster tries do develop ways to identify such propaganda. Principle Investigator Thorsten Quandt talked to Scala about the project.
Listen to the whole interview (German) on the website of Scala

Expert hearing of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment of the German parliament (26.01.2017)

Can so called “Social Bots” influence political debates in the internet and potentially even sway the result of a federal election? This public expert hearing dealt with “Social Bots”, computer programs designed to influence debates in social networks with automated content. Both Dr. Grimme and Professor Dr. Quandt were invited to give testimony.

SWR 2 (29.12.2016): “Fake-News im Internet”

False news items often spread so rapidly that it becomes impossible to trace their sources. So how can we identify them and what can be done to stem their spread? SWR2 spoke to Lena Frischlich (German).

Radio Q (10.11.2016): “Hatemining und Popstop”

We might know this already on a subconscious level: Not every comment on Facebook or Twitter is actually written by a human. Instead there are sophisticated programs that write comments, like pages or even send private messages on social networks. Their foremost aim is to influence public opinion and spread coveted propaganda.
Teams of scientists and students of the University of Münster have started the projects Cyberhate-Mining and PropStop to counteract this.

Frankfurter Rundschau (16.07.2016): „Verdeckte Propaganda erkennen“

A computer scientist warns of automated algorithms on the internet that extensively try to manipulate opinions. In this interview, Christian Grimme explains why hidden propaganda has the potential to bias public opinion in social networks.
Read the full interview with Christian Grimme on the homepage of the Frankfurter Rundschau (German)

Der Spiegel (02.07.2016): Feind und Helfer

Bots spread hate speech or affect advertisers online. But they can also be useful and there will soon be more of them. In order to trigger a digital debacle, money has to be spent. A reasonably authentic Twitter account costs two dollar, if you buy it in a package on platforms such as BuyAccs.
Read the whole article in the 27th edition of Der Spiegel (German)

WDR5 (01.07.2016): Propaganda-Bots im Internet

A threat to democracy? Machines spread tendentious comments in social networks, which could influence the formation of public opinion. An interdisciplinary research project in Münster aims at uncovering hidden propaganda. Scala talks to the media psychologist Lena Frischlich.
Listen to the full interview with Lena Frischlich on WDR5 (German)

3sat Kulturzeit (27.06.2016): Achtung, Robot! Wie Social Bots Einfluss nehmen

Social bots, automated algorithms that communicate autonomously with other people, poison the climate on the internet and have become a danger to democracy.

Watch the full broadcast in the video above or on 3sat (German)

Deutschlandfunk (18.06.2016): Social Bots – Kampf gegen die automatisierte Netzpropaganda

In social networks and in the comment sections of online media the battle for opinion leadership is in full swing. These online debates are vulnerable to manipulation. A joint project of scientists, journalists and IT specialists tries to uncover cyber propaganda.
Listen to the whole radio feature on the homepage of Deutschlandfunk (German)

WDR3 (10.06.2016): Stimmungsmache im Netz: Mensch oder Bot?

Researchers at the university of Münster want to find out how to identify and prove propaganda in social networks. For this purpose a military method is to be used: the struggle “good vs. evil”. Three questions to project manager Christian Grimme.
Listen to the full interview with Christian Grimme on the homepage of WDR3 (German)