It’s no secret that social media has become a huge influencer on the daily lives of it’s active users.
Everything from politics, the stock market, global conflicts and average buying decisions can and is influenced by social media.
That’s led to the rise of what are known as social bots that are sophisticated software programs that simulate human behavior.
Some companies use them for automated posts while spammers use them to pollute the networks with junk ads and governments to influence their citizens.
Social bots can also be used to infect accounts and spread malicious links, so avoiding them is a good idea.
Twitter in particular seems to have a large percentage of accounts that are using social bots, which led to an interesting research project at Indiana University.
The Truthy Project’s Bot or Not tool will analyse any Twitter account for signs that it’s using a social bot.
It’s a work in progress and not a definitive evaluation, but before you start an online discussion with a new follower, make sure their not an obvious bot.