U3B presents web app at the Uni.Stadt.Fest

Last Sunday, we presented our interactive installation “Bot or Not” at the festivities for the 50th anniversary of Bielefeld University. Passersby could talk with us, learn about our project, and try out a web app that we installed on four touchscreens. The web app showed Tweets from Twitter accounts that are suspected to be social bots. Users could scroll through the Tweets, gain some additional information, and than decide whether they think they are seeing the Tweets of a bot or a human.

Our presentation was a great success, many passersby were interested in our project, at times people were even waiting in line to try out our web app. Although users of our web app were faced with a binary choice (bot or not), we actually wanted to show people that it can be difficult to identify automated accounts on Twitter. To that effect, we had interesting conversations that showed us that some forms of automation are easy to identify for people, for example if they result in repetitive patterns of posts with similar content, while other forms are more difficult to identify.

Two visitors at our booth testing the web app

See also the news of the Faculty of Sociology (in German): https://ekvv.uni-bielefeld.de/blog/soziologie/entry/fakult%C3%A4t_f%C3%BCr_soziologie_auf_dem.

About the entire event: https://50jahre.uni-bielefeld.de/2019/09/16/der-tag-danach-das-uni-stadt-fest/.

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