Bot Sentinel conducted an analysis and found bots and trolls are using hashtags like #ReopenAmericaNow and #StopTheMadness to spread disinformation.
"An analysis from Bot Sentinel, a bot tracking platform, found that bots and trolls have been stoking sentiments online that have fueled the protests, using hashtags like #ReopenAmericaNow and #StopTheMadness."
The public health consequences, economic cost, and harm to democracy by social media disinformation is staggering. Social media companies use algorithms to drive higher engagement (engagement = $) so they PROFIT when trolls and bots stoke political and cultural tensions. It’s bad PR when they get called on it, but it’s very profitable for their businesses. Regulators need to work harder to catch up - and one potential fix would be for social media companies to only be allowed to apply their engagement nudging algorithms to identity-verified accounts. Yes, a few anonymous accounts from people seeking to voice legitimate dissent might get curtailed but preventing the overwhelming reach by legions of disinformation bots makes this a necessary trade-off.
A Twitter spokesperson indicated that:
"With respect to COVID-19, we're prioritizing content that contains a call to action that could cause potential physical harm," the spokesperson said. "Under these our expanded policies, we've removed more than 2,200 Tweets. As we've doubled down on tech, our automated systems have challenged more than 3.4 million accounts which were targeting discussions around COVID-19 with spammy or manipulative behaviors."
They indicate they have removed 2,200 tweets. Is this significant? For context, understand that Twitter sends out 6,000 tweets PER SECOND or 500 MILLION per day. Is removal of 2,200 going to go far enough? Seems unlikely and the impact it is having on society shows that they aren't up to the challenge.
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