HEY THERE TWITTER USER WITH A LOT OF FOLLOWERS, there is a massive chance that 15 per cent of them ain't nothing but robots and you are a tool.
Chill though, remember this. The bot news might make your claim of being a social influencer even more bullshit than it was in the first place, but you should also remember that the same 15 per cent figure applies across the board on Twitter and mean that some 4.8 million accounts are nothing but dumb ghosts that also post messages without any real thought.
This is according to a study from the University of Southern California and Indiana University. While it might not sound like much of a problem, these accounts could be used to retweet nasty business, spread propaganda and bullshit and generally contribute to a shitty environment.
"Social media are powerful tools connecting millions of people across the globe. These connections form the substrate that supports information dissemination, which ultimately affects the ideas, news, and opinions to which we are exposed," says the report without resorting to swear words.
"There exist entities with both strong motivation and technical means to abuse online social networks — from individuals aiming to artificially boost their popularity, to organisations with an agenda to influence public opinion. It is not difficult to automatically target particular user groups and promote specific content or views."
"Many social bots perform useful functions, such as dissemination of news and publications," they add.
"However, there is a growing record of malicious applications of social bots. Some emulate human behaviour to manufacture fake grassroots political support, promote terrorist propaganda and recruitment, manipulate the stock market, and disseminate rumours and conspiracy theories."
Officially, Twitter has 313 million active monthly users and some bots, but its most recent statistics on the latter comes from an SEC filing from 2014 and a phug of words.
"Only up to approximately 8.5 per cent of all active users used third party applications that may have automatically contacted our servers for regular updates without any discernable additional user-initiated action," explained the firm then.
The INQUIRER is off to check its follower list. µ
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