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Bots can shape social interaction

Scientists experimenting with Twitter bots found that the bots could “shape” activity on Twitter to some extent. They’re continuing their studies to get a better understanding of what they’re seeing. [Link]

The origin of the study was explained by Tim Hwang, one of the authors of a research paper describing the socialbot experiments. “A lot of people you can hire now say they are really good at community engagement. Can we measure those claims?”

From the paper linked above:

… although each socialbot was able to connect only a relatively small portion of users from its target group, the findings of this study are extremely signi cant. These findings indicate the fi rst successful attempts at automatically and programmatically shaping the topology of online communities. Further, while the scale of this study was relatively small, socialbots are designed to be light, efficient, and entirely automatic { and thus, easily deployable in large swarms. We believe this study marks the rst step towards demonstrating the ability of such technologies to shape online communities at a large scale.

Wonder if this means we’ll have swarms of marketing bots flooding Twitter and other social systems?

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