Social media algorithms, Bots and elections in Africa

Martin N. Ndlela*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social media is becoming a dominant factor in electoral processes, with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp increasingly having a tremendous influence on the creation, dissemination and consumption of political content in Africa. The social media platforms collect and collate large amounts of data from their users. The power of algorithms in filtering, ranking, selecting and recommending content makes them a significant factor in election campaigns. The objective of this chapter is to examine how these social media algorithms and bots are influencing elections in the African context. The chapter argues that social media algorithms and bots are slowly changing the dynamics of elections in Africa, presenting new prospects as well as challenges for the fledgling democracies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Media and Elections in Africa, Volume 1
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical Perspectives and Election Campaigns
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Pages13-37
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030305536
ISBN (Print)9783030305529
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Algorithms
  • Automated communications
  • Bots
  • Data-driven campaigns
  • Elections
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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