Well, isn’t this a shocker, I guess most of us were thinking this anyway, no need for serious research!
You may be aware that twitter bots have essentially crowded the social media channels working as computerized programs posing to appear as real human beings. Some new findings from a research carried out have helped to measure their activity on the internet.
According to the research, these bots are responsible for two-thirds of tweets that are linked to other popular websites, through which they share news, sports and adult content. The final report on this research comes after months of investigating the role bots play in spreading false information across social media platforms.
So What Does This Mean For Twitter?
Having twitter bots spreading information for all the wrong reasons is definitely a threat for Twitter. That is why Twitter embarked on a change in the policy for the use of bots by stopping them from mass-posting similar tweets at a go and adding hashtags on lists that are trending. This is being done to stop the abuse of these automated programs.
Implementing these changes will ultimately limit the bots to sharing only helpful news and appropriate campaigns. This will go a long way at curbing malicious activity on the social media platform.
Not All Bots Are Malicious
Duuh, I know of at least one which is quite friendly . Also, ultimately not the bot is malicious in itself, it’s rather how the people use it that could cause hard or interfere with public opinion.
Also, there are bots that have not been purposefully created to fuel negative news on the internet. For instance, the creation of Alexa and Siri has been a warm welcome to many users as they play a major role in our daily lives by helping us handle the tough society we live in.
There also bots that have been programmed to send out timely emergency news such as updates on natural disasters, while others work at maintaining relationships between businesses and the clients through creative campaigns. However, it is still unfortunate that most bots have been created for the sole purpose of trolling, spamming and providing users with fake information.
More about the study
For the study to be successfully carried out, researchers sampled about 1.2 million tweets that were posted in the English language. This was done in order to establish how many were shared by bots and which topics were the most popular.
After tracking these tweets to their final destination, they selected the most common websites and proceeded to compute the number of tweets that originated from bots. This complicated process involved categorizing over one million tweets and establishing which Twitter accounts were automated. Usually accounts run by bots do not reveal this information.
The outcome of this research revealed that 66% of the tweets were derived from bots. Once the topics were classified by popularity it emerged that 66% covered news, 76% were related to sports and adult content links were the highest standing at 90%.
These findings seem threatening but there are still some vital questions that have been left unanswered. For instance, the truthfulness of the information shared has not been established and we also don’t know how consumers of this content interacted with it. In the end however, the research has proven that there is a very high possibility that the links you click on Twitter were probably shared by a bot.
From the findings of this research we can conclude that bots play a noticeable and impactful role across social media platforms and they will continue to do so as we progress in this digital era.
Maybe they should change tactic and instead of trying to stop bots - which is like trying to stop the wind with a spoon - they should try and limit the damage that can be done in large scale by malicious people using bots.