Prayer-bots and religious worship on Twitter: a call for a wider research agenda

Minds and Machines 29 (2):331-338 (2019)
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The automation of online social life is an urgent issue for researchers and the public alike. However, one of the most significant uses of such technologies seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the research community: religion. Focusing on Islamic Prayer Apps, which automatically post prayers from its users’ accounts, we show that even one such service is already responsible for millions of tweets daily, constituting a significant portion of Arabic-language Twitter traffic. We argue that the fact that a phenomenon of these proportions has gone unnoticed by researchers reveals an opportunity to broaden the scope of the current research agenda on online automation.
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