San Francisco (AFP) – Twitter Bot’s conditioning to guarantee fake accounts has placed these automated computer programs “bots” at the center of this eventful acquisition process.
This hugely popular software can be so problematic that entire teams of tech giants like Meta, Google and Twitter are dedicated to removing it.
But what exactly is it?
Man or bot?
Bots are automated software that pretends to be real people and interacts with platforms or their users, Tamer Hassan, head of the cybersecurity company Human, which specializes in distinguishing between humans and algorithms, told AFP on the Internet.
According to Hassan, these programs have become more sophisticated and, when corrupted, constitute one of the biggest computer threats of the decade.
On Twitter, the term “bot” often refers to fake accounts driven by a form of artificial intelligence that can post explosive tweets and even respond to other publications, detailed independent analyst Rob Anderle.
Influence and cyber crime
“The question is, what would you do if you could give up as a million people?” Asked Tamar Hasan.
“On social networks, bots can be used to publish content for the purpose of influencing people’s opinions, provoke feedback and even be used for cybercrime,” he added.
Among other things, they can spread misinformation, point users to unreliable sites and fake news, and promote misleading posts by sharing and ‘liking’ them.
Fake accounts, which account for more than three-quarters of online attacks and fraud, could also lead to financial scandals, Hassan said.
“Bots have been around for a long time on social networks,” Mr Enderley noted “Bots have been linked to attempts to influence the US election and to form an opinion on the war in Ukraine.”
Problems on Twitter
Twitter derives its revenue from advertising, and advertisers pay to address people, not algorithms.
“There will not be much chance of success in bots advertising because bots don’t buy products,” said Rob Enderley.
If advertisers pay a fee on Twitter based on the number of people who see their ads, and those numbers are inflated by bots on the network, they are being overcharged, he said.
If there are too many bots on Twitter, identifying and removing these fake accounts can reduce its revenue.
Twitter executive director Parag Agarwal claimed that less than 5% of the active accounts on Twitter were fake, but the humanities of the accounts could not be assessed independently due to the need to keep user confidential data.
Elon Musk has assured him that the actual number of fake accounts could be four times higher than what Twitter claims and that he would prioritize their removal if he acquires the platform.
The Bluebird Group has rules for automated accounts that prevent bots from posting messages on hot topics, spamming, trying to influence online conversations, and managing multiple accounts at the same time.
Fake accounts are a recurring and well-known problem on social networks. Elon Musk made it a sticking point during the acquisition process, so it seems to be “a way to avoid acquisitions or get a lower price”, according to Mr Enderel.
© 2022 AFP