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Researchers: Nearly Half of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots (npr.org)
19 points by anigbrowl 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments

"We do know that it looks like it's a propaganda machine, and it definitely matches the Russian and Chinese playbooks, but it would take a tremendous amount of resources to substantiate that,"

It seems irresponsible to say then. I feel that while bots are prevalent, so are idiots.

Idiots don't write bot scripting operations. China and Russia have a proven history of this. There are others who invest heavily in this sphere too, like Israel, North Korea, and some non-trivial efforts by the Saudis and Iran.

> Idiots don't write bot scripting operations.

My personal experience is: an army of bots is useful but the effectiveness is limited. The key is to activate and mobilize a group of crazy people, by influencers or bots - real humans, genuine citizens - who's willing to be the online warriors of an ideology to work for you, e.g. "We must stop the globalist", "They're taking away our guns", or "Impeach Trump". The ideology is not limited to a specific one, anyone can use this method.

The Russian seems to have developed a powerful strategy against the USA: actively promoting conflicting ideologies of all sides to increase political instability.

True, but it's pretty labor-intensive and scripted bots help to relieve that burden as well as providing amplification capabilities.

What percentage of tweets in general are by bots? Not insignificant, I'm sure. Bots did not spring up for this occasion.

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