Saturday, May 23, 2020
Kathleen M. Carley and her team at Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity have been tracking bots and influence campaigns for a long time. Across US and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events, the level of bot involvement is normally between 10 and 20%, she says. But in a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.
- There's been a surge in bot activity in the past month in online discussions about reopening America from COVID-19 shutdowns, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said this week. - The researchers analyzed over 200 million tweets discussing COVID-19 and found that roughly half the accounts were likely bots. - They identified the bots by looking for accounts that tweeted more frequently than humanly possible or whose location appeared to rapidly switch among different countries. - It's unclear who's behind the surge in bot activity or whether they're originating from the US or abroad.
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