Misinformation About COVID-19 Can Come Through One Method
After looking at millions of tweets about coronavirus, they've figured out that there is one method that could be making information about the virus go... well, viral. And it's not always accurate.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University looked at more than 200 million Tweets talking about “reopening America” and concluded that most of them are probably the product of bots.
(Dictionary.com defines a bot as "a device or piece of software that can execute commands, reply to messages, or perform routine tasks, as online searches, either automatically or with minimal human intervention (often used in combination).
CMU said, “Of the top 50 influential retweeters, 82% are bots, and of the top 1,000 retweeters, 62% are bots.”
The research used artificial intelligence to figure out which accounts were bots, and If there were more tweets coming from an account than humanly possible in 24 hours, or if the origin jumped from country to country, they concluded it was a bot.
They discovered around one hundred types of false coronavirus stories coming from bots, including stories about potential cures, the virus being linked to 5G towers, and even mannequins filling hospitals. After the bots cranked them out, did your Aunt Betsy share a few of those? Yeah, mine too.
So how do we know if an account is a bot? There are usually little typos, along with a user name or profile image that don’t seem to match. And the dead giveaway is rapid-fire tweets in a short period of time. That's not an over-sharer. It's probably a bot.
They're looking into information on Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube now too, looking to see if bots are spreading more misinformation.