The Strategist

15% of Twitter users are bots

03/13/2017 - 15:11

Researchers from the University of Southern California conducted an analysis of all users of popular social network Twitter. According to the received data, the number of bots (fake pages) on the network reaches 8 million accounts, which is 15% of the entire user base.

Scientists from the Universities of Southern California and Indiana have come to a conclusion that around 15% of all Twitter-accounts are bots, Zerohedge reports. A new study showed that more than 48 million of the 319 million registered users are not real people. Their accounts are operated by bots, specialized programs that perform various actions.

The robots look so similar in their actions to the human behavior that it is difficult to detect them. They can also communicate with other users, like posts and retweet. Specialists had to carefully analyze all user data of the social network to identify bots.

Particular attention was paid to the profiles’ descriptions, number of tweets and subscribers, as well as emotional coloring of messages. Retweets friends were also considered important. Experts have identified frequency of appearance of new tweets, considered nature of conversations that the users were having. For example, bots "communicate" in the informal language and mostly use short sentences.

Thus, scientists came to a conclusion that 9-15% of active users are bots. This figures exceed those that the microblogging service itself pronounced in the last month. According to Twitter, about 8.5% of active users are bots.

Such Internet bots are meant to increase activity on the page, advertise products and services. Specialists note that bots can be used both for distribution of important news, and for propaganda and recruitment.

Twitter does not have a future, so the company's shares are expected to fall from $ 15-17 per security to less than $ 10 per share, Executive Director of Global Equities Research Trip Chowdhry wrote at the end of last year in Uber-Bear report. Chowdhry noted that fake accounts mess the statistics up. This, in turn, results in poor targeting and, consequently, scare advertisers off the platform.

The analyst recalled that sociologists used Twitter data to predict results of the presidential elections in the United States, which were unexpectedly by Donald Trump on November 8. At that, statistics suggested that Hillary Clinton was to be the winner. The expert reckon that this resulted from large number of bots in the social network.

Global Equities gave one of the most negative forecast on Twitter’s, notes CNBC. 25 analytical companies recently recommended keeping shares of the social network, eight – advised to sell. Eight companies, on the contrary, recommended buying Twitter’s shares.

Last year, Twitter's management tried to sell the company against the backdrop of falling financial indicators. The list of possible buyers included Microsoft, Google, Apple and Disney, but all of them eventually abandoned this idea. Applicant companies consulted with banks on feasibility of acquiring the social network, and representatives of financial institutions advised not to buy Twitter.

After Walt Disney and Google were out of the game, Twitter’s shares fell more than 18% during pre-stock trading on NASDAQ. Analysts at Northman Trader then assumed that price of Twitter shares could drop to $ 14-19 per share in the event of complete refusal of all potential buyers.

Salesforce was the only major player remaining in the fight to buy Twitter. Soon, however, the company withdrawn its bid. Shares of Twitter Inc. then fell by almost 6%, dropping the market capitalization of the company to $ 11.6 billion. 


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