Bots and the spread of misinformation

Much misinformation is spread through social media by automated accounts–called “bots.”

The purpose of these fake accounts is to sway public opinion, change behavior (like voting behavior), and to generally unsettle and divide.

Can you tell if the Twitter or Facebook (or other social media) site you’re reading is genuine?  It doesn’t do any good to argue with or send biting commentary to an account controlled by a machine.  You’re never going to change its opinion or make it mad.  Being hoodwinked by a machine is no one’s finest hour.

How do you know if the post or tweet you may be looking at comes from a human being?  Can you tell the difference?

Research has identified 5 clues for spotting Twitter bots–user profile, tweet syntax, tweet semantics, temporal behavior, and network features.

Read the article to learn more (Will Knight, MIT Technology Review, July 18, 2018).

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