Who doesn’t know about the dominance of social bots on the internet during the United States Mid-term Elections 2010, and of course the United States Presidential Elections 2016. According to the estimates, approximately 14 pc of the users active on Twitter during the presidential election discussions were bots, which were used to intensify and spread political messages among specific groups.
A social bot is an artificial interactive entity engaged in social media networks to automatically generate messages or support certain ideas or campaigns, by acting as followers or a fake account.
The existence and influence of these web robots have long been debated yet many social platforms have failed to entirely get rid of them. Around 11 pc (138 million) of the accounts on Facebook in 2014 were fake, and the numbers have noticeably increased as the platform has continued to expand. Likewise, on Twitter, approximately 5 pc accounts (10.75 million) were fake in 2013.
However, it’s not just about fake profiles or influencing the mass opinion anymore. These bots also carry out non-genuine interaction and even boost engagement on Facebook Pages through legitimate paid means.
Additionally, the bots perform repetitive tasks like buying things in bulk online to be resold elsewhere at inflated prices and have crowded online shopping, ticket sales for concerts and events in the past.
Witnessing the increasing engagement of these robots, both Twitter and Facebook announced measures to get rid of additional fake accounts to reduce their potential impacts on elections, and Facebook will be investing significantly more into security in response to the election interference investigation.
For advertisers and brands active on social media platforms, this can ensure content being seen by more genuine people and reaching the real audience, rather than having inflated numbers diluted by the fake accounts.