You’ve definitely already heard of social “Bots”. Most probably in a negative context like they are influencing discussion on social, spreading political propaganda, even under suspicion of influencing the outcome of elections.
Should we be afraid of them? How does a bot work anyway? And how do I know if a social media profile is really a bot? Let’s have a look.
In the physical world, a “Bot” is the larvae of the bot fly. It’s a parasite that lives inside an animal’s stomachs and comes
These programs are basically used in all areas online.
Typically, their tasks are simple and repetitive. Bots can perform them at a much higher rate than a human being. Primarily they use for the “Web crawling“. Automated script retrieval, analysis, and file information from web servers.
It has estimated that more than half of all web traffic is made up of bots. On social media, they can be programmed to scan the platform for certain keywords and act according to a certain purpose. They can automatically share content from other profiles or reply to posts.
Let’s suppose I love cheesecake so much that I’d want to send a message to all Twitter users who post about cheesecake.
It will search Twitter for cheesecake postings and automatically post my reply. To some extent, I could even teach the bot to analyze if a posting is positive or negative and let him post a suitable answer.
Furthermore, digital assistants like Alexa and Siri are also bots.
Yes. Back to the negative image of bots. If I program my bot to search for climate change and my agenda was to deny climate change. That really does have a rather negative impact. Service bots can deliver news updates or help you to quit smoking by sending motivational messages from time to time, and they can also be used for a good cause.
Here’s one example I like a lot. In 2015, two American journalists created the account, “Drop the iBOT”. Whenever a
But they are indeed used for political purposes as well. They can influence the discussion about military conflicts or elections, for example. They can even set trends.
Although most of the time their contributions to discussions are not very profound. Especially on Twitter, bots are a widespread phenomenon. According to recent findings, about 15 percent of all Twitter traffic is created by them. And that can be a problem. By liking and retweeting each other’s postings, they can make up topics, and opinions appear more important. While it’s at least debatable whether they can really influence elections, they can definitely help a topic become a trending topic.
Here are five tips on how you can identify them first.
So let’s see in another article.
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