On social media channels, users are increasingly likely to encounter bots, or accounts that mimic human behavior. These bots create the illusion of public opinion, and many social media users are unable to distinguish between an actual Twitter user, for instance, and a bot. In fact, a team of computer scientists have created a "Botometer" to help users ascertain whether or not an account they follow on Twitter is likely to be a bot. This lesson plan from PBS NewsHour Extra is designed to teach students to how to recognize bots online and critically reflect on how bots are shaping political discourse around the world. The lesson centers on a short but informative NewsHour video about the recent history of Twitter Bots and what computer scientists are doing to uncover them. While this lesson is aimed at middle and high school students, it may also be of interest to those who teach computer literacy in settings such as public libraries or adult education classrooms.
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