Bot or not?

A funny Mexican meme about sycophantic accounts that supported former Mexican senator Omar Fayad

Updating definitions and detection methods

One of the most common ways to identify bots on Twitter is by calculating an account’s tweets per day — by taking the total number of tweets an account has tweeted divided by number of days since the account was created. Researchers have varying thresholds for how many tweets per day indicate an account might be automated. In 2016 The Oxford Internet Institute considered 50+ tweets per day suspicious but have since revised their terminology. DFRLab views 72 tweets per day as suspicious. In 2018, University of Washington researcher Ahmer Arif told Mother Jones “if an account has more than 50 to 60 tweets a day, that suggests automation.”

Source: CNBC

Addictive design & emotional marketing tactics

Tristan Harris wrote a blog in 2016 titled “How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind” and it could not be more relevant. Disinformation campaigns are bad, but the reason they are effective is because bad actors know entire populations of people are glued to their screens, and that’s by design. Social media websites are engineered to keep us clicking and scrolling and to never put down the slot machines in our pockets. These addictive features are baked into the design of social media websites and apps.

Sample of Breitbart ALL CAPS fear-bait



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Erin Gallagher

Erin Gallagher


Social media researcher, multimedia artist, currently research assistant with the Technology and Social Change Project