huntsville, alabama, city

News 19 report: ‘Bots and Your Ballot’ what you need to know about 2020 election interference

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — As the United States draws closer to the hotly contested 2020 general election which includes the race for the White House and an Alabama U.S. Senate seat, those weighing in with political opinions are not all human.

As part of our election coverage for 2020, News 19 is digging into this unusual form of interference to help you recognize the misinformation efforts that are underway.

The 2016 election included attempted interference by Russian forces, according to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and the intelligence community.

Based on reports from the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies, efforts to influence and interfere are underway again in 2020.

One of the weapons deployed are bots – autonomous computer programs used on social media sites and elsewhere. The bots are designed to mimic real people – voters— and seek to convey messages appearing to show widespread support or opposition to a given candidate, fake news story or wild claim.

News 19 Investigative Reporter Kelley Smith has taken a closer look at the bot problem and how the interference efforts are looking for ways into Alabama’s 2020 election.

Coming up at News 19 at 9 on WHDN, “Bots and Your Ballot.”

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