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How Twitter Bots Help Fuel Political Feuds

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Battling bots.

Researchers in the U.S. and China are studying what they call a misinformation network related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Credit: Shana Novak/Getty Images

Researchers in the U.S. and China are studying a "misinformation network" related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, using software to identify links to unverified related claims and spotting 2 million retweets produced by several hundred thousand accounts to spread misinformation during the six months leading up to the election.

Another program was used to analyze the timing, text, and other properties of those retweets to determine the probability that a bot was producing them.

"As we got closer and closer to the core, we found more and more bots," says Indiana University professor Filippo Menczer.

When core accounts referenced fact-checking sites, it was usually to discredit them or to falsely state the fact checkers found a bogus claim to be true.

Another team is using artificial intelligence to identify social media bots based on certain tweet characteristics, and they say it could correctly recognize bots based on a single tweet with more than 90% accuracy.

From Scientific American
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