|Twitter is fake social media.|
New research from the University of Southern California (USC) and Indiana University estimate that Twitter is now up to 15% fake "bot" accounts. In other words, automated non-human accounts programmed to interact with other users. Complex bots can behave in ways similar to humans on social media.
The researchers at USC checked over a thousand characteristics in a sample group of accounts to identify the percentage of bot accounts. They looked at friends, tweet content, tweet sentiment, and time between tweets, among other factors.
The findings mean that a stupendous 48 million accounts out of Twitter's 319 million monthly active users are bots. This is 20 million more bot accounts than Twitter's own assessment.
Twitter tried to put a positive spin on the bots, with a spokesperson saying that "many bot accounts are extremely beneficial, like those that automatically alert people of natural disaster."
However, the USC's report said that "there is a growing record of malicious applications of social bots. Some emulate human behavior to manufacture fake grassroots political support...[and] promote terrorist propaganda and recruitment."
The bots are the only way that Twitter can continue its "growth" as it reaches its natural saturation point. In recent years the number of new users has stagnated and the platform has had trouble monetizing its business, while also facing accusations of extreme censorship and Left-wing bias.
While other social media platforms have seen explosive growth, Twitter has lagged behind. Since January 2014, its stock price has fallen from $69 to $15 today.