What is SAMbot?
SAMbot, is a machine learning bot that detects and tracks toxic sentiment on Twitter. During Canadian elections, SAMbot collects data and insights about the online abuse directed at candidates and political parties with a Twitter account.
During election periods where SAMbot is deployed, SAMbot tracks candidates’ mentions 24/7 and provides us with data and insights about online abuse.
How does SAMbot work?
SAMbot tracks all English and French tweets directed at candidates with public Twitter accounts. Each tweet that SAMbot tracks — whether it’s a reply, quote tweet or mention — is assessed for how likely the content can be classified across different toxicity attributes to help us better understand the forms of toxicity being directed at candidates.
SAMbot can collect and analyze tweets in real time during any election campaign period. SAMbot provides a tweet analysis and stores each tweet that mentions the Twitter handle of at least one of the monitored accounts.
Why do we need SAMbot ?
While it is commonly understood that toxic online spaces are harming our democracy, there is little data that illustrates the extent of the problem in detail. Consequently, effective regulations, policies and social expectations for online conduct in Canadian political contexts are lacking.
Online political discourse during campaign periods can be extremely toxic. SAMbot is deployed during Canadian elections to examine the current state of Canada’s online political conversations. This information will help to inform important conversations and nuanced approaches to reducing the toxicity of online political spaces in Canada.