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Connecting the Bots: Researchers Uncover Invisible Influence on Social Media


Twitter users and Twitter bots.

New research from the University of Georgia found that Twitter "bots" can be the driving forces behind dialogue in social movements, possibly leading to journalistic attention and governmental change.

Credit: socialmediaimpact.com

Researchers at the University of Georgia have found Twitter "bots" can be the driving forces behind dialogue in social movements, possibly leading to journalistic attention and governmental change.

When a topic trends on Twitter, it is usually because a lot of very well-connected accounts are tweeting about it, and perhaps shaping how others react. However, the researchers found some of these well-connected accounts are actually bots.

"Once enough accounts are tweeting about the same thing, that creates buzz, and organizations really respond to buzz," says University of Georgia Ph.D. student Carolina Salge.

Although most research focuses on bot detection because it assumes the bots are the product of bad actors, the researchers also found some bots can be used for positive change. For example, many boycott and protest movements are employing bots to increase awareness of their cause on social media with the goal of getting picked up by the mainstream media.

From UGA Today
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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