Spotting Political Social Bots in Twitter: A Use Case of the 2019 Spanish General Election

Javier Pastor-Galindo, Mattia Zago, Pantaleone Nespoli, Sergio Lopez Bernal, Alberto Huertas Celdran, Manuel Gil Perez, Jose A. Ruiperez-Valiente, Gregorio Martinez Perez, Felix Gomez Marmol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


While social media has been proved as an exceptionally useful tool to interact with other people and massively and quickly spread helpful information, its great potential has been ill-intentionally leveraged as well to distort political elections and manipulate constituents. In this article at hand, we analyzed the presence and behavior of social bots on Twitter in the context of the November 2019 Spanish general election. Throughout our study, we classified involved users as social bots or humans, and examined their interactions from a quantitative (i.e., amount of traffic generated and existing relations) and qualitative (i.e., user's political affinity and sentiment towards the most important parties) perspectives. Results demonstrated that a non-negligible amount of those bots actively participated in the election, supporting each of the five principal political parties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9226407
Pages (from-to)2156-2170
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Data mining and (big) data analysis
  • election manipulation
  • fake news
  • information technology services
  • information visualization
  • machine learning
  • political social bots

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