Internet Social media is fast becoming one of the most important devices used for businesses. Social media is one of the most powerful social media marketing tools available. Many companies, even politicians, have experimented with social bots – a program – that can help improve their customer base. More and more social media content is generated by these ‘bots’ – autonomous entities known as social bots.
Different from regular bots, a social media bot can convince the other user that it is a real person. Researchers from the University of Southern California and Indiana University found out that between 9% – 15% of active Twitter accounts are actually social media bots. These ‘social bots’ are accounts controlled by software, algorithmically generating content and establishing interactions. The researchers found that bots tend to interact with other bots that exhibit more human-like behaviours. Further, this highlights the importance of tracking increasingly sophisticated social bots. Deception and detection technologies are in a never-ending arms race – the ‘social bots’ being the prize. The study also revealed that retweet and mention strategies adopted by bots to interact with different target groups were especially beneficial.
The research is a wake up call for the social media platforms, which have seen much difficulty in increasing its user base. The dominant players – Facebook and Instagram – try to filter bots as much as possible but are losing ground. Social bots also cause problems for these companies to prevent the spread of fake news, hate speech and misinformation.
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