Your latest ‘like’, ‘retweet’ or ‘follow’ may not have been from a human, a new study has found.

Researchers have discovered that up to 15 percent of Twitter accounts are bots and with 319 million active users on the site, it is estimate that 48 million of them are computer programs.

While some bots can wreak havoc on Twitter, sources have revealed that ‘many bot accounts are extremely beneficial’, as they ‘alert people of natural disasters or from customer service points of view’.

The recent investigation into Twitter was conducted by the University of Southern California, which used 1,150 features from six classes to track down accounts run by bots.

This included data like tweet content and sentiment, network patterns and activity time series.

‘We benchmark the classification framework by using a publicly available dataset of Twitter bots,’ the researchers shared in the study published in arXiv.

‘This training data is enriched by a manually annotated collection of active Twitter users that include both humans and bots of varying sophistication.’


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