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Activist Bots Recruit Humans to Their Cause on Twitter

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Recruited by a person?

The Botivist program uses Twitter to rally people to social causes.

Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images

The Botivist program uses Twitter to rally people to social causes, thanks to the efforts of Saiph Savage and colleagues at West Virginia University.

The team's eight activist bots were designed to concentrate on corruption in Latin American governments. When Botivist detects someone tweeting about the issue, a bot sends them an inspirational quote or call to action.

The bots provoked replies from 175 people out of more than 1,000 people to whom they sent inquiries. Eighty-one percent of that segment responded to the bots' call to contribute ideas.

"One of the biggest benefits of activism is that it can guide citizens to take action," Savage says. "This is taking people that were complaining about corruption, now they're thinking about things they can do to change it."

Savage's team is currently working on a public Botivist iteration, and also planning another round of Twitter queries to determine how far the bots can inspire people.

From New Scientist
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