Tag Archives: research
“Researchers from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil and the Indian Institute of Engineering and Technology released a study last month in which they programmed 120 bots with simple strategies for acquiring followers in order to look at how robots manage to pull off this deception. After a month, only 31% of the fake accounts had been suspended by Twitter, and together they had received a total of 4,999 follows from 1,952 distinct users.” (Sarah Kessler, Fast Company)
Now come socialbots. These automated charlatans are programmed to tweet and retweet. They have quirks, life histories and the gift of gab. Many of them have built-in databases of current events, so they can piece together phrases that seem relevant to their target audience. They have sleep-wake cycles so their fakery is more convincing, making them less prone to repetitive patterns that flag them as mere programs. Some have even been souped up by so-called persona management software, which makes them seem more real by adding matching Facebook, Reddit or Foursquare accounts, giving them an online footprint over time as they amass friends and like-minded followers.
Researchers say this new breed of bots is being designed not just with greater sophistication but also with grander goals: to sway elections, to influence the stock market, to attack governments, even to flirt with people and one another. (Ian Urbina, New York Times)