Overcoming the social media bots

Twitter bots can have more long term implications that simply spreading fake news. (Photo by Creative Commons/Flickr)

There are programs to help identify bot accounts on social media but it is still an ongoing issue for online sites. It can affect the overall population by spreading fake news and swaying the opinions of people. Although it may seem minute to some, the long term repercussions of these bots can change political outcomes and cause other harm because of the lies they post.

Indiana University takes a closer look into fake news.

“News is a fundamentally shared experience,” said former News Manager for YouTube Citizen News Project, Olivia Ma. She is correct, and unfortunately several fake news outlets are receiving millions of Tweets of stories that are not even real, based on a study by MIT Technology Review. The study looked at the way in which bots spread so many fake stories. They begin with the vulnerable accounts, such as biased ones favoring a certain candidate, for example.

The New Republic discusses the end of bots and why that matters.

There were two helpful programs used during this study but they can also be useful for social media users curious to unfollow or identify bots. Hoaxy is devoted to tracking and visualizes claims of fake news on social media. It also compares fake news to credible information and tracks both. Bolometer lets you know if an account is run by a human or if it is a bot. The program is effective by analyzing Twitter features, like what time posts are being published and the accounts it follows. Using both of these sites can alleviate some of the challenges that bots create.

MIT Sloan School of Management looks at methods that identify these problematic bots.

Social bots can manipulate algorithmic biases, per NiemanLab. They are computer programs that interact with people on social media using various accounts. Bots strategically target influential users, which ultimately helps the spread of the false information they are posting about, as stated on MIT Technology Review. Reaching these users with high numbers of followers increases the likelihood of making content trend on social media.

MIT Tech Review shares a consequence social media bots may have on society.

Bots is a relevant topic for social media marketing. The concepts mentioned in the Eazl video below include black hat digital marketing and automated interaction that is normally discouraged. Black hat digital marketing is not illegal by law but not allows or encouraged by platforms, like airport bots.

This Eazl video looks deeper into the topic of social media bots.

It is vital that social media users stay alert when it comes to bots online. They are becoming harder to identify in such a saturated space but through effective programs combating the issue, we can improve what we read and avoid fake news from these computerized pages.