Delegating Religious Practices to Autonomous Machines, A Reply to “Prayer-Bots and Religious Worship on Twitter: A Call for a Wider Research Agenda”
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Öhman et al. (2019) have drawn attention to the phenomenon of Islamic Prayer-Bots and religious worship on Twitter and social media platforms, which, they argue, has gone unnoticed by the research community, despite the significant scale of the activity. In this case, prayers and supplications are automatically posted to the accounts of real people by third party services through the accounts of real users who “creatively automate a facet of their online activity.”
The authors argue that this type of activity has been outside the scope of the prevailing discourse on social media bots, which tends to focus on fully automated accounts, whereas the activity identified in the study is an interpolation of human and bot activity through single accounts. Previous work has described accounts that are operated by both bots and humans as “cyborg” accounts, which were first identified on Twitter by Chu et al. (2010, 2012) . However, such hybrid accounts in general appear to have...
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