Twitter bots

Photo via Esther Vargas (CC-BY-SA)

Twitter is home to nearly 48 million bots, according to report

All those retweets and favorites might not be coming from real people.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Mar 11, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 9:06 pm CDT

Twitter bots might be even more prevalent than you originally thought.

According to a University of Southern California study released this wee, Twitter is the home of nearly 48 million bots. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, if you take into account that Twitter has 319 million monthly users and you consider that, according to the study, somewhere between 9 and 15 percent of accounts are not actually run by humans, the high end of that equation equals 47.85 million bots.

But before you go logging off Twitter in a panic, remember this.

“Many bot accounts are extremely beneficial, like those that automatically alert people of natural disasters … or from customer service points of view,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC.

Of course, not all bots are quite such a positive influence. As the study points out, “There is a growing record of malicious applications of social bots. Some emulate human behavior to manufacture fake grassroots political support … [and] promote terrorist propaganda and recruitment.”

According to science journal First Monday, it’s estimated that about 400,000 bots were responsible for 3.8 million tweets in the presidential election-heavy period between Sept. 16 and Oct. 21 of last year. That equaled about 20 percent of all election-related tweets.

H/T CBS News

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*First Published: Mar 11, 2017, 11:35 am CST