If you use Twitter chances are you have come across a bot. An automated account that spams re-tweets, auto follows, and does everything to make it not a person. Now some smart guys at Indiana University in Bloomington have put together an app for you to help figure out if an account is a bot or a real person. On Twitter there are millions of bots and most are harmless and automated for efficiency to auto post news stories, re-tweet company activities, etc… The darker side of the bots is they can and are being used for spamming, scams, misinformation campaigns, and attempt to turn things ‘viral’.
The latter bots are the ones that need to be identified and eliminated. As the researchers perfect their algorithm the bot creators will adjust to get around it and back and forth the battle goes. Where there’s a system there will be those who work on gaming it and using it maliciously.
Bot or Not is still in beta. I ran it twice against my twitter account, @BinaryBlogger, the first time it rated me as 6% bot and the second run I was 14% a bot. Nothing changed on my Twitter timeline between runs. As with anything beta the results are a work in progress. Regardless, the report that the site generates is very impressive on the analytics on how I use Twitter to determine person or bot.
If you use Twitter this is definitely worth checking out and bookmarking for later use. Especially on some of your followers that annoy you to see if it’s their personality or their programming.
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Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.