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Report: Up To 15% Of Twitter Accounts Are Bots

A team of researchers claim they can identify Twitter account activity that’s posted by bots through their new web portal — “Bot or Not?” — leveraging “more than a thousand features extracted from public data and meta-data.” And it turns out there are a lot of bots. An anonymous reader writes:

“A study released by the University of Southern California reports that roughly nine to 15 percent of Twitter accounts…are so-called bots controlled by software instead of humans,” according to CBS News. “Twitter boasts 319 monthly active users meaning that this recent revelation equates to nearly 48 million bot accounts, according the university’s high-end figure.” CNBC adds that “The research could be troubling news for Twitter, which has struggled to grow its user base in the face of growing competition from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and others.” In a 2014 SEC filing Twitter admitted that between 5 and 8% of their users were bots. Twitter’s response to this new report? “Many bot accounts are extremely beneficial, like those that automatically alert people of natural disasters … or from customer service points of view.”


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