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Internet Bots Explained. (EP.3)

Updated: Oct 9

[Abstract]

In this episode, we explore bots on social media platforms. A Social media bot is a software application that runs automated tasks that include; generating messages, advocating ideas, and gaining followers on social media platforms.



Sources:

https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-algorithm/

https://www.imperva.com/learn/application-security/what-are-bots/

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/05/21/1002105/covid-bot-twitter-accounts-push-to-reopen-america/



[Links]

Spotify: Click here

iTunes: Click here

Google Podcasts: Click here

YouTube: Click here




[Important Information]

The information in this episode comes from Hootsuite, a social media marketing company, the MIT Technology Review and Imperva, a Cybersecurity analysis company


According to Imperva, “An Internet bot is a software application that runs automated tasks over the internet. Tasks run by bots are typically simple and performed at a much higher rate compared to [regular human rate.]”


There are many types of bots, so for today’s discussion, we’ll strictly be discussing Social Media bots. According to Imperva, “It is estimated that 9-15% of Twitter accounts are social bots.”


Paul and the crew, I have a shocking find! In a May 2020 Study by MIT Technology Review that tracked more than 200 million tweets about Corona-virus and COVID-19 tweets in the month of February. They estimated that between 45% and 60% of those tweets were spread by bots.


Social media bots are used to generate messages, advocate ideas, act as followers, and as fake accounts can gain followers themselves.


Social media platforms do this too, but for ads and recommended content. If you want to learn more visit Episode 2. Starting in 2009, Facebook introduced algorithms that create what you see on your feed. These algorithms have continued to grow for the last 11 years. Everything you’ve liked, posted, and shared has crafted your eyes. In that feed, you have curated posts and advertisements. These social media bots use similar data points and algorithms to automatically have discussions and post content.


According to Imperva, “Social bots can create fake accounts (although this is becoming more difficult as social networks become more sophisticated), amplify the bot operator’s message, and generate fake followers/likes. It is difficult to identify and mitigate social bots because they can exhibit very similar behavior to that of real users.”


So, crew, your feed is loaded with content that has been automatically generated to cater to your liking. Whether that's from groups you follow, family and friends, or news station accounts. These bots can be used to infiltrate groups of people and spread certain ideas. Information and misinformation can spread so quickly and easily.


Positive:

  • Curates information automatically for companies.

  • It helps keep posts on a schedule.


Negative:

  • Misinformation can be spread if not checked.

  • There aren’t many barriers set up to prevent malicious bots.

  • Spam.

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