“You see this pattern,” said David A. Broniatowski, a computer engineer at George Washington University and lead author of the study, which was published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health. “On guns, or race, these accounts take opposite sides in lots of debates. They’re about sowing discord.”’
‘But instead of picking a side, researchers said, the trolls and bots they programmed hurled insults at both pro- and anti-vaccine advocates. Their only intent, the study concluded, seemed to be to raise the level of hostility.