Visualization on Hoaxy of a bot attack
A Hoaxy visualization of a bot attack

Cut through the fake and find the facts

It can be difficult to know what’s credible online and what isn’t.

But there are ways to get a clearer picture of reality.

The Observatory on Social Media’s tools have informed third-party efforts, including shutting down 10,000 bots mobilized to discourage U.S. voting.

10,000 botsseeking to discourage voting in the U.S. were deleted by twitter as a result of the center’s work

Researchers at IU’s Observatory on Social Media—a collaboration between IU's Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, the IU Network Science Institute, and more recently, The Media School—have been building tools for nearly 10 years to understand how information moves across the internet and influences public opinion.

With Hoaxy, you can dig deep into visualizations that show the spread of information and misinformation online over time.

Botometer assesses whether individual Twitter accounts are likely bots, allowing anyone to determine the trustworthiness of information. Widely adopted by reporters, researchers, and the general public, Botometer fields hundreds of thousands of queries each day.

50 million+youtube videos in the Observatory on Social Media’s research database
100 billion+searchable public tweets

Two people look at a Hoaxy visualization on a big screen

Monitor suspected bot activity on Twitter in real time

BotSlayer is the Observatory on Social Media’s newest tool in the ongoing struggle against the use of bots to spread misinformation online. The beta version was used by major news and political organizations to monitor possible election interference in the U.S.

BotSlayer allows anyone to scan and explore data—i.e., tweets—directly from Twitter on specific topics of interest. It’s possible to see immediately when bots work in a coordinated way to push out messages—a practice known as “astroturfing” since it mimics authentic grassroots activity.

Use it during a televised political debate, for example, to watch how bots are deployed to attack individual candidates with the goal of affecting public perception and, ultimately, the outcome of an election.

An education for a complex media and data landscape

Navigating information—and misinformation—to find clarity and truth has never been harder.

The Media School’s forthcoming degree in data journalism ensures we’re preparing journalists to seek truth and champion democracy in an ever-changing and complex media landscape. And our new Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism provides specialized training in strong, independent investigative journalism, and will conduct its own reporting on issues of importance.

At the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, students in programs ranging from data science to intelligent systems engineering are learning how to use the modern world’s flood of information to impact all facets of society.

Inventive tools. Innovative degrees. These are just some of the ways IU is fighting for our democracy.

Students watch news on a large screen in The Media School at Indiana University.