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Researchers Discover Massive Networks of Fake Twitter Accounts

mi writes: Turns out, there are researchers studying ways to identify bots on Twitter — fake accounts used by individuals or groups for various purposes. They identified, what seems like a collection of 350,000 accounts, all of which share the same subtle characteristics: tweets coming from places where nobody lives; messages being posted only from Windows phones; exclusively including quotes from Star Wars novels. “Considering all the efforts already there in detecting bots, it is amazing that we can still find so many bots, much more than previous research,” Dr Zhou, a senior lecturer from UCL, told the BBC. Juan Echeverria uncovered the massive networks by combing through a sample of 1% of Twitter users in order to get a better understanding of how people use the social network. He is now asking the public via a website and a Twitter account to report bots to get a better idea of how prevalent they are. Some bots are easy to spot as they likely have been created recently, have few followers, have strange usernames and little content in the messages.

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