The project "Bots Building Bridges (3B): Theoretical, Empirical, and Technological Foundations for Systems that Monitor and Support Political Deliberation Online" -- a significant research collaboration between the ANU (VOSON Lab), the University of Bielefeld and the University College Dublin- has been granted 4-year funding by Volkswagen Foundation.
The 3B project investigates complex social interactions of technical systems, human actors, and partisan agendas, in the online environment. The research brings together interdisciplinary expertise and methods such as, sociological theory, semantic computing, empirical analysis and psychological experiments, as well as dialogue with civil society stakeholders, in order to develop tools and methodologies that monitor and support political deliberation online.
Collaboration between the VOSON Lab and the University of Bielefeld started in 2017, with the Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme 2017-18 (Universities Australia – DAAD) “Socialbots as political actors? Autonomous communication technologies as tools and objects for digital sociology”. In 2019, the group was granted the ANU Global Research Partnership Scheme, and the Volkswagen Foundation Planning Grant.
The research group met on 14 of June, where Rob Ackland and Bryan Gertzel introduced the VOSON Lab tools and presented a large scale Twitter data collection on selected hashtags, conducted during the 2020 US Presidential debates and townhalls. These datasets are key for the research project and all methodological aspects were presented to the group.