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How Advanced Socialbots Have Infiltrated Twitter | MIT Technology Review

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Having let the socialbots loose, the first question that Freitas and co wanted to answer was whether their charges could evade the defenses set up by Twitter to prevent automated posting. “Over the 30 days during which the experiment was carried out, 38 out of the 120 socialbots were suspended,” they say. In other words, 69 percent of the social bots escaped detection.

The more interesting question, though, was whether the social bots can successfully infiltrate the social groups they were set up to follow. And on that score the results are surprising. Over the duration of the experiment, the 120 socialbots received a total of 4,999 follows from 1,952 different users. And more than 20 percent of them picked up over 100 followers, which is more followers than 46 percent of humans on Twitter.

Social bots are more persistent and less discriminating than humans. 

Either humans are more discriminating or less talented (less optimized).

Freitas and co also monitored the Klout score of each of their social bots to see how they fared. (Klout is an online service that measures the influence of Twitter accounts, giving them a score between 0 and 100). “We find that the socialbots achieved Klout scores of the same order of (or, at times, even higher than) several well-known academicians and social network researchers,” they say.

how many bot-followers did those social bots obtain? 

Jared, good question. No one knows.

That's a good question!

I do think humans are less optimized. Part of being human.

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