What are social bots?

Definition by Wikipedia: A social bot (also: socialbot or socbot) is a particular type of chatbot that is employed in social media networks to automatically generate messages (e.g. tweets) or in general advocate certain ideas, support campaigns, and public relations either by acting as a „follower“ or even as a fake account that gathers followers itself. In this respect, social bots can be said to have passed the Turing test (a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human).

How do Social Bots work?

Social bots are able to interact with humans and to answer their queries without getting tired. They can sound very human, but are nothing but accounts that are automated and controlled by code.
Social media bots are algorithms, pieces of software that use artificial intelligence to automate tasks and carry conversations with humans, with the purpose of assisting them. They can help in building stronger relationships with customers by delivering targeted content and anticipating user reactions.
Depending on the niche and platform they are used on, social bots can be programmed to perform tasks like answering and sending direct messages, helping human users find information online, liking posts or following other users and so on.

Are Social Bots helpful/necessary?

With fake friends, followers, likes and comments it is easy to make yourself, your agenda or your product appear more popular and the accounts of your competitors less interesting and popular.
Social bots can indeed be used in a positive manner, for example for entertainment or for completing repetitive tasks.

Why do we use Social Bots?

Social bots are used to simulate real success with followers, likes and comments generated by fake accounts. They are also used for advertising in online chats, influence trends and to expand the range of a certain page or profile.
Most people, brands and companies use social bots to push their page right from the beginning (when the account is created), so the pages climb up in the rating of a certain social network.

How do I recognize Social Bots?

It is not easy to identify a social bot. Social networks themselves train their algorithms to become better at spotting bot activity, but the success rate is quite low.

Wikipedia gives a variety of criteria which must be applied together using pattern detection (machine learning):
1. cartoon figures as user pictures
2. random real user pictures (identity fraud – the use of another person’s   personal information without authorization)
3. reposting rate
4. temporal patterns
5. sentiment expression
6. followers-to-friend ratio
7. the length of user names
8. variability in (re)posted messages

Is there a risk of using Social Bots ?

There is no real risk using social bots, but there is a lot of misuse of social bots. Existing companies, politicians, parties, brands or just private people misuse social bots in order to distort public opinion or to spread fake news.

What is this site?

This site was built in the context of a bachelor class to create a website about offering Social Bots. Main goal is the conception of an online marketing strategy for our offers and to generate as much traffic as we can get within the period of this project.