Twitter CEO Pressured to Step Down as Studies Show Nearly 15% of Users are Bots
The essence of propaganda is not to make you believe some proposition, but to make you believe that everybody else believes that proposition.
Internet denizens have alleged for years that Twitter is a censorship-heavy echo chamber for manufactured “trending” news created by bot farms.
The idea is that millions of bots are used on Twitter to create the perception that certain news or gossip is important while more substantive issues are buried.
And now it appears there may be some truth in that.
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey is being pressured to resign after studies revealed that there may be as many as 48 million bots on Twitter, more than the populations of the majority of the world’s countries
This means investors in the company may have been given inflated numbers pertaining to Twitter’s user base.
As much as 15% of Twitter may be fake.
Importantly, that number may be large enough to manufacture “trending” news for private and political interests. It may also be large enough to flood certain tweets with likes, while posting negative evaluation in response to tweets deemed undesirable to certain interests.
If you have a significant following and you Tweet something that is contrary to mainstream hegemony and establishment-approved patterns of thought, bots could be leaving negative comments and then forcing them to the top to create the perception that ‘the majority’ disagrees with you.
Remember, the essence of propaganda is not to make people believe some proposition, but to make people believe that everybody else believes that proposition.
It is almost impossible to detect whether an account is controlled by a real human or by a cleverly programmed bot.
Sophisticated programming and techniques are designed to give bots the appearance of a real human being, complete with a life-history and career, networks of friends, photos of events, political and religious views, and seemingly personal discussions and comments.
You can also buy bots to give your audience the impression that you’re more popular than you actually are.
Sophisticated bot accounts may let you control the way they behave on Twitter. Suppose you Tweet a criticism of a politician you don’t like. Perhaps you could direct your bots to inflate the number of hearts under your Tweet, so it looks like thousands of people support your criticism of that politician.
Virtually anyone can buy bots, though some are more sophisticated than others.
Comedian Joe Mande, for instance, says it’s relatively easy to buy bots. He bought hundreds of thousands of them.
Bots come with varying degrees of control over their behavior depending on how much you’re willing to spend. The bots that intelligence agencies might use, for example, would be much more complex and capable than bots of the sort that one can buy for $5.
Because we simply don’t know how much these millions of bots are affecting what we see on Twitter, it places all Twitter users in a position of epistemic paralysis with respect to whether they’re getting real information about the world.
That’s to say, if we don’t know the degree to which Twitter’s millions of fake accounts are manufacturing the content, then we are not in a position to know if trending news is truly rising organically from the people or if it is the product of bot farms forcing it to the top.
The discovery of so many millions of bots infesting Twitter is being called the “bot scandal” by investors.
The University of California and Indiana University both published research demonstrating that as many as 48 million Twitter accounts are not operated by humans but by bots, reports state.
It is bad timing for this news to come out, because Twitter is already facing problems with its advertisers, and it’s receiving massive criticism for its heavy-handed censorship of human accounts that post politically controversial content from both the left and the right.
Gab.ai is one alternative that is committed to anti-censorship and it is expected that more alternatives will emerge as Twitter continues to sink.
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