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A Decade of Social Bot Detection


robot with phone 'like' 'like' 'like', illustration

Credit: Poynter

On the morning of November 9, 2016, the world woke up to the shocking outcome of the U.S. Presidential election: Donald Trump was the 45th President of the United States of America. An unexpected event that still has tremendous consequences all over the world. Today, we know that a minority of social bots—automated social media accounts mimicking humans—played a central role in spreading divisive messages and disinformation, possibly contributing to Trump's victory.16,19

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In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. elections, the world started to realize the gravity of widespread deception in social media. Following Trump's exploit, we witnessed to the emergence of a strident dissonance between the multitude of efforts for detecting and removing bots, and the increasing effects these malicious actors seem to have on our societies.27,29 This paradox opens a burning question: What strategies should we enforce in order to stop this social bot pandemic?


 

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