Bots Might be Behind Celeb Profile Engagement: Study

Prayank

A recent research conducted at the University of Cambridge has found out that ‘celebrity’ Twitter accounts which have more than 10 million followers often showcase bot-like behaviour than accounts with lesser followers.

The researchers studied a number of Twitter accounts and concluded that accounts with more than 10 million followers retweet at the same rate that a bot does — indicating that many profiles might be using bots to create engagement.

The researchers used data from the micro blogging site to determine the activity of bots, how they behave and the level of impact they have on Twitter.

“A Twitter user can be a human and still be a spammer, and an account can be operated by a bot and still be benign,” said Zafar Gilani, a PhD student at Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory, who led the research.

The term ‘bot’ is often associated with spam, offensive content or political infiltration, but many reputable organisations in the world also rely on bots for their social media channels.

“We’re interested in seeing how effectively we can detect automated accounts and what effects they have,” Gilani said.

The findings of the research will be presented at the ongoing IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM) in Sydney, Australia.

Researchers used the following parameters to determine whether an account was being controlled by a bot or not. The account creation date, account description, tweet frequency and its content, replies to tweets, likes or favourites received and few more.

The researchers analysed a total of 3,535 Twitter accounts and were able to classify 1,525 of them as bots.

The major difference between bots and human accounts were found to be the higher number of tweets and retweets in the former’s case.

Although the frequency of tweets and retweets by a bot is way more than normal, human accounts receive 19 times more engagement on likes and 10 times more on retweets.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Prayank

Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.