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Current news 29 Sep 2017

Today’s number is about… social bots

Social bots are increasingly present online. They are often responsible for spreading fake or misleading news on platforms Facebook and Twitter and can influence the topics that are discussed on these social networks. According to a study by Indiana University (United States), covered by El País, between 9% and 15% of Twitter accounts are controlled by these programmed bots.

A total of around 50 million bots Tweet and respond to interactions on this social network. They also tend to follow socially relevant people to increase their influence. For example, according to the tool Twitter Audit, 17 million fake users follow U.S. President Donald Trump.

These accounts tend to abide by common tactics such as sharing news links seconds after they are published and mentioning popular people like journalists and politicians. The difficulty of detecting these profiles has led the World Economic Forum to consider online fake news a global risk.

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