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How Google, Facebook, Twitter Monitor Fake Accounts: A Detailed Explainer

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Elon Musk's pausing of his bid to buy Twitter due to questions over "bots" has put the artificially-operated accounts at the heart of the proposed deal's latest controversy.
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Twitter Bots, Elon Musk’s Issue With Them and How Google, Facebook Monitor Fake Accounts: An Explainer

The software is all over the place and is an issue that tech giants like Meta, Google, and Twitter have teams dedicated to eliminating bots. Likewise, cybersecurity companies sell security solutions against bots.

Here’s a view of the bots

Software or a human?

In a nutshell, “bots” are software applications that connect to online platforms or their users and pretend to be real human beings, as claimed by Tamer Hassan, co-founder, and head of cybersecurity company HUMAN.

ALSO READ>More Than 20% Of Twitter Is Spam/Fake Accounts: Elon Musk

Malicious bots have evolved into sophisticated and are now among the top cyber threats of this decade. According to Hassan, his company specializes in the distinction between software and people online.

The term”bots” on Twitter is commonly referred to fake accounts driven by a specific type of artificial intelligence that could send out tweets or even respond to posts shared by other users, said an independent expert Rob Enderle.

Tickets and chaos

Bots are involved in over three-quarters of the security and fraud instances on the internet, from spreading opinions on social media to buying tickets to concerts or hacking, Hassan explained to AFP.

ALSO READ>Twitter Has Announced The Introduction Of An “Automated” Label To Distinguish Good Bots From Bad.

“The question is, what would you do if you could look like a million humans?” Hassan asked with a smile.

“Across all social media platforms, bots can be used to spread content to influence people’s opinions, garner reactions and can even result in cybercrime.”

Bots can be employed on social media platforms to disseminate false information, guide users to incorrect details, direct users to fraudulent websites and make fake posts appear popular through shares and “likes.”

Social media bots can also lure users into financial scams, Hassan said.

“Social media platforms have had bots for a long time,” analyst Enderle explained. “Bots have been connected to attempts to influence the US election and shape opinions about Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

Twitter: What’s up with Twitter

Twitter earns its revenue from advertisements, and advertisers are paid to connect with users, not through software.

“Advertising to bots isn’t going to have a good close rate because bots don’t buy products,” Enderle observed.

If advertisers pay Twitter fees concerning how many people view their ads, and the numbers are overinflated because of bots in the audience, they’re being under-charged, Enderle added.

If Twitter has more bots than they admit, its earnings could plummet when these accounts are exposed and shut down.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Parag Agrawal, chief executive of Twitter, stated that less than 5 percent of accounts on the same day at Twitter are bots. However, the analysis is not duplicated outside due to the necessity of keeping user data private.

Musk announced that the number of bots could be more than four times greater and has indicated that he’d make the elimination of them a top priority when he was the owner of the platform.

ALSO READ>Twitter Shares Rose By Up To 25% After Elon Musk Took 9% Stake In The Company

Twitter has rules regarding automated actions taken by accounts, such as preventing software from making posts on hot topics, sending off spam, trying to influence online conversations, and working across multiple accounts.

Bots are a well-known social media issue, and the fact that Musk created a problem this late in the acquisition process seems to be “a vehicle to escape the purchase or get a lower price,” Enderle explained.

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