Trending podcast

Serbia’s real life ‘bots’

Spol 15 sekunder tilbage
Spol 15 sekunder frem

Over the summer, a mysterious Twitter persona published details of over 14,500 social media accounts - all of them controlled by real-life Serbian citizens, it's claimed. They stand accused of posting… whatever the President’s party tells them to.

It’s long been rumoured that Serbia’s ruling SNS party commands the online activity of a small army of citizens, dubbed ‘bots’ by the opposition. But this kind of list, naming and shaming thousands of ordinary Serbians, is unprecedented.

If true, their activity represents a form of political corruption according to Serbia’s public prosecutor. The government’s response has alarmed observers - it shrugged off the story, publishing instead a veiled tongue-in-cheek ‘admission’.

But who is behind the list, and can it be trusted? BBC Trending has analysed the data in an attempt to establish if the ‘bots’ are indeed real people. And whether their accounts show evidence of co-ordinated activity.

Featuring interviews gathered on the ground in Belgrade, we hear from opposition politicians, pro-democracy activists and a self-professed real-life ‘bot’. She tells us she trolled the President’s opponents under threat of losing her job – as a receptionist at a state-controlled electricity company in a small Serbian town.

Reporter: Sam Judah Editor: Flora Carmichael

Additional reporting by: Grujica Andric, Lazar Covs, and Alison Benjamin.

Flere episoder fra "Trending"