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Digital Wars: Attack of the Twitter Clones

Digital Wars: Attack of the Twitter Clones

A team of researchers from the University of Southern Carolina and Indiana University set out to determine how many Twitter accounts were bots. It turns out, 15% of all accounts are not humans.

To do so, they created a framework to identify bot accounts. The framework itself utilized more than a thousand tools which looked at timing between tweets, sentiment, and tweet content. Presenting their findings, the researchers estimate that “between 9% and 15% of active accounts are bots.”

The figures may actually be even higher – the researchers advised that sophisticated bots may have been categorized as humans in their model, so 48 million bot accounts may well be a conservative number.

This new evaluation, is far higher than the figures previously released by Twitter. In a filing last month, the company said only 8.5% of all accounts do not showcase, in their own words, “discernible additional user-initiated action”.

A Twitter spokesperson commented that while bots have largely negative connotations, many are useful to “automatically alert people in case of natural disasters” or for customer service purposes. While the USC researchers supported that statement, they insisted that a large chunk of bot accounts perform toxic functions. Fake political support or promotion of terrorist propaganda are just two examples among many.

In recent weeks, Twitter has maneuvered itself to make the reporting of abusive activity easier, providing more ways for users to rid Twitter of trolls and bots. However, considering that nearly 50 million accounts are not humans, Twitter has a real mountain to climb. And these new findings have made that mountain a lot higher.

Elan Kol
Elan Kol
Elan has an unsurpassed level of knowledge in his field of expertise. If you need help with your growing business, we are here to provide business consulting services, coaching and business mentoring to support your business development. Elan is a strong strategic thinker with great eye for detail and is also both creative and innovative, which gives him the ability to deliver exceptional results for both client companies and owned or started ventures.

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